Cybercrime has been with us for many years, but the problem may be getting worse. Security experts say it is wise to assume that your personal information and credentials have been accessed and made available to criminals.
Passwords on their own are not as infallible as we need them to be. Cyber attackers have the power to test billions of passwords combinations in a second, and the vast majority of people use the same password everywhere.
Where Dual-Factor Authentication Comes in Handy
Dual-factor authentication (DFA) offers an extra layer of protection beyond passwords. It is much more difficult for cyber criminals to obtain the second authentication factor, which drastically reduces their chances of succeeding.
What is Dual-Factor Authentication?
Also known as “two-factor” or “multi-factor” authentication – this process adds a layer of security to your online accounts. The most common example is a one-time code sent via text message that is required to access your online account after you have entered your password. This second layer of authentication reduces the likelihood of a hacker or criminal stealing your password, since your phone is also needed to access your account.
How Does the Second-Factor Work?
After you enter your password – the first authentication factor – the second-factor usually arrives by SMS. You will get a text with a numerical code that you will then need to enter to log into your account. Unlike a PIN code for a debit card, a DFA code is used only one-time – you will be sent a new code with each login attempt.
Alternatively, you can use a dedicated authentication app to receive codes instead of using text messaging. Popular authentication apps are Google Authenticator, Authy and DuoMobile. Both Fidelity and Charles Schwab use the Symantec VIP Access app.
Recommended Uses of Dual-Factor
We highly recommend using DFA for the following sites:
- Paracle Portal
- Your custodian’s website and mobile app (e.g. Schwab or Fidelity)
- Your bank account website and mobile app
- Your email accounts (Microsoft Outlook, Gmail, Yahoo, etc.), especially if you use any of those accounts for recovering lost passwords
- Social media accounts (Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.)
- Your phone provider and smartphone accounts (AT&T, Apple ID, etc.)
- Any other website that offers it
How Does Paracle Provide Additional Security?
- Ongoing monitoring of your accounts for money movement, unauthorized trading, new accounts, and address changes
- Requiring two-factor authentication for employees to access client-related data
- Utilizing email that supports encrypted viewing and transmission
- Shredding all documents with client information
- Deploying several layers of firewalls to protect our systems
- Maintaining confidentiality agreements with all vendors with access to our office
- Verifying by phone any requests to wire funds
- Extensive staff training on protecting confidential client information and preventing fraud
It might be distressing to think about all the ways that criminals can target you and your family. But using dual-factor authentication will go a long way toward reducing your risk. If you have any questions, or you would like to discuss your options for protecting yourself, your Paracle team would be happy to speak with you.
Paracle Personal Financial Management is an independent financial planning firm founded in 2004 with an honest desire to help people optimize their finances by providing unbiased financial planning and investment advice that puts their clients first. Paracle specializes in delivering expert, comprehensive wealth management services to busy families. Their expertise integrates financial planning with investment management to ensure their clients experience confidence in every aspect of their plan so they can focus on what matters most. To learn more about Paracle, connect with them on LinkedIn.