Cybersecurity Risks are RealAre Your Computers Safe?

Most advisors’ computers are at risk of stolen data and worse from cybercriminals. So, it seemed to make sense to do a warning newsletter and an EDUCATIONAL WEBINAR explaining the very real problem and what advisors can do to protect their (and their client’s) data.

Technology Webinar-How to Avoid Being Hacked
Thursday, November 12th at 1:00 p.m. EST.

Click on the following link to sign up for this important webinar

The fact of the matter is that most computers are not safe from professional “cybercriminals.”

What is cybercrime? It’s not what you’ve seen in the movies, it’s actually much worse!

Imagine a hacker who is able to hack into your network and get into your computer desktop. Once in, the hacker can literally record your screen and set the recording to go for days at a time.

That allows the hacker to:

  • steal your identity
  • hack your accounts (including your personal and corp. accounts)
  • hold data for ransom
  • get into your Black Diamond, Orion, or other accounts
  • read all your emails, watch/listen to your Zoom meetings, etc.

Think it can’t happen to you? All you have to do is click on a link in an email that looks like it came from Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, etc. when in fact it’s a hacker’s link. As soon as you click on it, the hacker is in. You don’t even know it (unless you are protected.).

The questions are:

  1. Should advisors care?
  2. What can advisors do to protect themselves?

Let me start by explaining WHY advisors SHOULD care!

If you are hacked, it literally could destroy your business and put you in the poor house (this is not hyperbole).

If you have a securities license, you can be fined for not having a secure computer network. RT Jones, a small firm out of St. Louis, was fined $75,000 by the SEC. Voya Financial was fined $1 million for not protecting against hackers.

The SEC is starting to take notice. According to a recent Forbes article: “Investors Risk Losing Assets From Increased Cyber Attacks On Advisors/Brokers, SEC Warns“.  As TD Ameritrade found, just 18% of advisors feel confident they would pass a cybersecurity examination if one were administered.

What can advisors do to protect their computers, their data, and their clients’ data?

Here’s what doesn’t work….DOING NOTHING!

Most advisors don’t want to think about the very real possibility of getting hacked. I get it, we are all busy and things seem tough enough as everyone deals with COVID and trying to make a living.

But not dealing with cybersecurity is really not an option in my mind.

What can you do to protect your computers?

Like it or not, you’ll have to use a 3rd party to help you. You and I are not qualified to protect our computers from cybercriminals. We have to look for help.

The question then becomes where do you get help?

Lucky for me, the CTO of the OnPointe Risk and OnPointe Marketing Suite of software had his own cybersecurity company J.  So, I get to talk with a true expert on cybersecurity anytime I need to.

The upside of that for those who read my newsletters is that I also get to pick his brain on other tech solutions like cyber-defense.

The firm that is doing the webinar next week has an A-Z cyber protection platform for small advisors or larger firms. They offer a “single solution” with “24/7 monitoring, early threat detection, threat response and removal, fully backing up your data, providing military-grade data encryption, web protection, and even running daily maintenance tasks to keep your computers and servers running in top shape.”

Let’s be frank, it sucks to have to spend money on cybersecurity. But it’s really a necessity today. The key is working with a firm you can trust and one that has price sanity.

Whether it’s the firm that’s doing the webinar or another, my goal, as always is to help motivate advisors to do what they need to do to succeed. And it will be difficult to succeed in the years going forward without a 1st class cyber-defense.

Roccy DeFrancesco, JD, CAPP, CMP
Founder, The Wealth Preservation Institute
Co-Founder, The Asset Protection Society