Eight Tips to Outsmart Hackers

In 1995, the Grateful Dead played their last concert, Toy Story hit theaters, Steffi Graf won three Grand Slams, and hackers first infiltrated AOL.

Yes. Phishing just celebrated its 23rd anniversary, and it’s not going away any time soon.

How We Protect Your Assets

By the end of 2017, malware—software intended to damage or disable a computer—was so ubiquitous that the average user was receiving 16 malicious emails per month.

This is just one reason Vista and Schwab take asset protection so seriously.

From monitoring your Schwab accounts daily for unauthorized or unusual activity to leveraging a third party to constantly monitor our systems for any vulnerability, Vista works to keep your assets secure.

Similarly, Schwab continuously monitors systems and collaborates with government agencies, law enforcement, and other financial services firms to address potential threats.

What You Can Do

While Vista and Schwab diligently protect your assets, it’s all too easy for hackers to trick users into clicking malicious links.

According to Verizon’s 2018 Data Breach Investigations Report, human error continues to account for up to 95% of successful cyberattacks.

To dramatically decrease your risk of falling for phishing schemes, adopt the following practices:

  1. Don’t just click. Avoid clicking on links in random emails, even if they appear to be from a friend or colleague. Despite widespread warnings about clicking suspicious links, up to 4% of phishing targets still fall prey to this ruse.
  2. Verify site security. Make sure a site’s URL begins with “https” and look for a closed lock icon near the address bar, which indicates a secure site.
  3. Keep software current. Update your software regularly, particularly your operating system. Security patches are released all the time. Don’t ignore them.
  4. Protect your phone. Cell phones are increasingly valuable to hackers. To protect yours, forego the customary four-digit passcode for a six- or eight-digit passcode, which are harder to guess.
  5. Stay informed about phishing ploys. Read up on new phishing scams. Awareness can help you avoid potential traps.
  6. Increase password strength. Create a unique, complex password for each website and change it every six months. Consider using a password manager such as LastPass to reduce risk of repeated or easily decoded passwords.
  7. Activate two-factor authentication.Use Schwab’s two-factor authentication, which generates a unique security code every 30 seconds, adding an important credential component to your existing login ID and password.
  8. Shut down pop-ups. Pop-ups seem like legitimate components of a website but are often phishing attempts. Don’t click the “cancel” button on pop-ups, which can lead to a phishing site. Instead, click the small “x” in the upper corner of the window.

Vigilance is Key

While there’s no one way to avoid phishing attacks, the protective practices that Vista and Schwab have in place—combined with good user habits—can go a long way toward protecting your most valuable assets.

 

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