Claudia Mollerup-Madsen is Vice President and Financial Advisor with the Wealth Management Division of Morgan Stanley in Houston.
A new year brings a new opportunity to stay vigilante about cybersecurity. In 2017, more than 143 million Americans were affected by cybercrimes; and it is estimated that cybercrime costs $600 billion annually – up from $500 billion. According to one study, Texas ranked number three among states in cybercrime complaints last year. Whether the crime is credit card fraud, phishing, identity theft or account stealing, it is essential that you protect yourself from these harmful actions.
Below are some tips to help you stay safe in our cyber-world. While many of these focus on personal actions that you can take to protect yourself, businesses are constantly bombarded with potential attacks. According to UPS Capital, cyber-attacks cost small businesses between $84,000 and $148,000, with 60% of them going out of business within six months of an attack. If you are a business owner, make sure your company’s cybersecurity is up-to-date as well.
Keep your software, operating system and browser up to date
It is vital to keep your software updated. Malware can make its way into your computer through software, operating systems, and browsers. Software companies send out updates to help patch holes in the security.
Incorporate multi-factor authentication
Multi-factor authentication is a tool to help keep you secure when logging into a bank account, financial transaction, or other site that uses your personal information. By using multi-factor authentication, you will be required to take an extra step of verifying yourself through a push notification sent to your cell phone or one-time passcode sent to you.
Do not use public charging cords or USB ports
While you may know not to use public wi-fi spots, you may not be aware of the dangers of publicly available charging cords or USB ports. By charging your phone or device by these methods, you are making your devices vulnerable to malware. Malware can then silently steal data from your phone or device. Take your own cord and plug it directly into the wall.
Do not use the same old passwords over and over
We have all done it. However, do not use the same usernames and passwords for different websites and applications. If a hacker gains access to one account, they can then gain access to other ones as well. Consider using a password manager to generate different passwords and keep them tucked away for you.
Do not share too much information on social media
Sharing too much information is another common mistake that too many of us make. It’s easy to get excited about trips or experiences and want to share that information on your social media sites. Beware. A fraudulent scheme could use the information you share online. Enabling strict security and privacy settings may help.
Leverage online statements and paperless options
Ensure you shred all paper documents that contain personal information before you discard them. Better yet, sign up for online account statements and other paperless options such as eSign and eDelivery. These online tools contain added security features. Ask your banker and financial advisor for more information regarding online options.
As with all facets in life including within the cyber-world, be aware of your surroundings, make smart choices, and verify requests before sending any personal information.
Claudia Mollerup-Madsen, Vice-President and Financial Advisor at Morgan Stanley in Houston, was born in Peru, and spent her life as an expat child living around the world. Claudia graduated from St. Mary’s University in San Antonio with a BA in International Business. She is fluent in both Spanish and English and has been in the financial advisory sector for 30 years, serving both U.S. and Non-U.S. citizens.
She worked for Merrill Lynch from 1989-1990; Citigroup Private Bank 1990-2001; UBS International 2001- 2009; and moved to Morgan Stanley in 2009.
Claudia has received several awards and honors including being named as one of Houston Business Journal’s 2018 Women Who Mean Business and being honored as a member of the 2019 MAKERS class, which celebrates the trailblazing women of today and tomorrow. She is also a member of the Morgan Stanley Women’s Advisory Council, an honor chosen by her management team to develop the empowerment and professional advancement of female advisors.
She has been interviewed multiple times as a financial expert on ABC13, Univision, KUHF, NPR, Houston Business Journal and KPRC 950 am.
She is a past board member for The Women’s Resource of Greater Houston and continues to teach financial literacy to women and young women at risk. Additionally, she is a member of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo’s International committee and a USTA Texas region board member, an elite group of tennis advocates promoting tennis.