Pandemic Cybersecurity

René Nourse, CFP® |

Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the UWM team began working virtually from home beginning in mid-March. While the Wi-Fi at our office is a secure private network, it was extremely important to replicate this protective platform at our homes. Our crucial goal has been to ensure that we can continue providing services in a secure manner for our clients. All of our primary connections via our home Wi Fis have been protected with VPNs (Virtual Private Networks), which provide one with privacy, security and the freedom to browse the internet without revealing who you are and what websites you are visiting.

Cybersecurity: Another COVID 19 Issue

However, since I’ve been working from home, I have noticed that my home phone rings several times a day. Thankfully, my phone provider blocks the call on the second or third ring if it appears to be a spam call. So, given the COVID-19 pandemic—which is just not about health care but is also impacting your personal internet, Wi Fi, and phone platforms—here are some tips to help you keep your financial life in protective mode, too.

1. Set up a Virtual Private Network account

This will assist in protecting your personal info and connections. Basically, it’s like a computer “firewall” blocking others parties' access to your personal information. Also, when you are in a public facility such as a coffee house, restaurant, hotel, etc., this platform will keep your connections private and secure. This page lists several VPN options for platforms: Top 2020 VPN Platforms (And just so you know, UWM is utilizing a top-rated VPN platform.)

2. Create a password management account

Some VPN platforms include a password management service as part of their service. You can also use the password management capabilities of your web browser (e.g., Chrome or Safari), or sign up with a separate password management service. Depending on the platform or service you choose, it will either create a password for you or save the password that you created. Each time when you log into a website, the platform will automatically input your password, so you don’t have to remember it.

3. Change the password on your financial accounts quarterly

Just to be on the safe side... Password management services are secure, but your money is your money!

4. Block spam calls

Contact your landline phone company to set up service to block any spam calls. In addition, mobile phone systems will typically identify spam calls and display that on your phone. If a spam call comes in on my iPhone, I get up a pop-up message stating that it appears to be a spam call, and I know I can decline it.

5. Get notified

If you’re worried that your credit card or bank information could land in the wrong hands, you should sign up for text or email notifications with your credit card companies and banks. By doing this, you’ll receive a notification anytime your account is charged. It’s the best way to monitor possible identity theft. Set-up is easy: you should be able to enable these notifications on your credit card’s website and through your bank’s online portal. If you have trouble, contact customer service directly.

Now is a key time to create protective measures using some of the above-mentioned security strategies. Honestly, we don’t know how long this pandemic will last. Establishing a high level of protection now for your personal internet access as well as your financial accounts will create a New Normal for your lifetime. We want you to keep it safe and secure.