Don’t Get Spooked by Cyber Scams: Implement These Security Measures

October 30, 2020

By Marshall Welke, Chief Compliance Officer & Director of Operations

October isn’t only for ghosts and ghouls. It’s also National Cybersecurity Awareness Month.

This year, cybersecurity is more important than ever as the COVID-19 pandemic persists. Scammers are taking advantage of fear and uncertainty during this time, along with the widespread and rapid shift to remote work.

To that end, we wanted to share several measures you can take to help safeguard yourself from potential cyber threats while working from home:

  • Update your Wi-Fi router’s firmware. Router firmware is software embedded inside your router that provides network protocols, cybersecurity protections and administrative controls. Upgrading it ensures your Wi-Fi has a strong signal, optimal performance and enhanced security. This process will be different for each person depending on whether you received your router from an internet service provider or purchased it on your own. If the former, most internet service providers will routinely update the firmware for you. If the latter, we recommend following this step-by-step procedure to upgrade.
  • Reset your home Wi-Fi password. Regularly changing your passwords is one of the simplest, yet most effective ways to protect yourself from cyber scams and attacks. Each router and/or internet service provider has a different password-changing process. As such, below are links to a variety of how-to guides. If directions are already listed on the side of your router, please follow those steps.

The password itself is also critically important. The longer and more complex, the better. The chart below illustrates different password types with a corresponding estimate of how long it would take an algorithmic program to crack your password. The key takeaway is that implementing a mix of lowercase and capital letters, symbols and numbers makes it drastically more difficult to guess your password. This same logic applies for your bank, Windows, email and other account passwords.

Algorithmic Crack Time

Password Length Lowercase Only

Capital Letter, Symbols, Numbers

3 Characters

.02 Seconds

0.86 Seconds

4 Characters .046 Seconds

1.36 Minutes

5 Characters

11.9 Seconds

2.15 Hours

6 Characters

5.15 Minutes

8.51 Days

7 Characters

2.23 Hours

2.21 Years

8 Characters

2.42 Days

2.10 Centuries

9 Characters

2.07 Months

20 Millenia

10 Characters

4.48 Years

1,899 Millenia

11 Characters 1.16 Centuries

180,365 Millenia

12 Characters

3.03 Millenia

17,184,705 Millenia

13 Characters 78.7 Millenia

1,627,797,068 Millenia

14 Characters 2,046 Millenia

154,640,721,434 Millenia

These are just a few, yet effective, cybersecurity measures to implement for a safer remote working environment. For additional information, please contact IT@exencialwealth.com.

PAST PERFORMANCE IS NOT AN INDICATION OF FUTURE RETURNS. Information and opinions provided herein reflect the views of the author as of the publication date of this informational piece. Such views and opinions are subject to change at any point and without notice. Some of the information provided herein was obtained from third-party sources believed to be reliable but such information is not guaranteed to be accurate.  In addition, the links provided within are for convenience only and the provision of the links does not imply any sponsorship, endorsement, or approval of any of the content.  We do not guarantee the content or its accuracy and completeness. The content is being provided for informational purposes only, and nothing within is, or is intended to constitute, investment, tax, or legal advice or a recommendation to buy or sell any types of securities or investments.  The author has not taken into account the investment objectives, financial situation, or particular needs of any individual investor. Any forward-looking statements or forecasts are based on assumptions only, and actual results are expected to vary from any such statements or forecasts. No reliance should be placed on any such statements or forecasts when making any investment decision. Any assumptions and projections displayed are estimates, hypothetical in nature, and meant to serve solely as a guideline. No investment decision should be made based solely on any information provided herein and the author is not responsible for the consequences of any decisions or actions taken as a result of information being provided herein. There is a risk of loss from an investment in securities, including the risk of total loss of principal, which an investor will need to be prepared to bear.  Different types of investments involve varying degrees of risk, and there can be no assurance that any specific investment will be profitable or suitable for a particular investor’s financial situation or risk tolerance.  Exencial Wealth Advisors, LLC (“EWA”) is an investment adviser registered with the Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC).  However, such registration does not imply a certain level of skill or training and no inference to the contrary should be made. EWA may only transact business in those states in which it is registered, notice filed, or qualifies for an exemption or exclusion from registration or notice filing requirements.  Complete information about our services and fees is contained in our Form ADV Part 2A (Disclosure Brochure), a copy of which can be obtained at www.adviserinfo.sec.gov or by calling us at 888-478-1971

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