A password manager has been a recommendation I make for most clients for years now. For some clients, we are discussing how to manage their digital assets. For others, it’s as simple as keeping their email accounts safe while they are in a lawsuit. Over the past few years, the number of “data breaches” that have happened continues to rise as well. After each one, there are a variety of stories about the need to keep your online accounts safe. This weekend, the Wall Street Journal had a story about another scary new tactic used by scammers:

SIM Swapping

As the WSJ points out, there has been a rise in the use of this tactic. When this tactic is used, the scammer steals control of your phone number. One of the most high-profile examples was when Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey’s twitter feed was hacked in August and racist and anti-Semitic tweets were posted.

So What Should I Do?

Remaining digitally vigilant has become part of our new norm. You can no longer plead ignorance and use “Password” or “1234” as your passwords. Most phones now use some type of biometric data to keep them secure (your fingerprint, your face, etc.). But to continue to guard against attacks, the WSJ highlighted 6 opportunities for you to make your digital life a little more secure:

  • Call your carrier and add a passcode on your mobile-phone account;
  • Get a password manager (I recommend this to my clients as well to safely manage their digital assets in their estate plans…);
  • Try out the “Forgot my password” option on your important accounts and see how they work;
  • Try adding a security key such as Yubikey or Google’s Titan;
  • Once you have a good second-factor authenticator in place, turn off SMS authentication; and
  • If you are a high-net-worth individual and want to really lock down your account, you can enroll in Google’s free Advanced Protection program.

I don’t have any experience with Google’s Advanced Protection program, so that is something you should probably investigate before signing up blindly.

Next Steps

Now is a good time to look at how you are storing your important information. If you’d like a copy of the Important Information Sheet used by my clients with their estate plan envelopes, click here and I’ll be glad to share a .pdf with you.

Andrew Ayers
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I work with business and estate planning clients to craft legal solutions to protect their legacies.
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