Cyber Security issues and protections are getting far more important

Cyber Security issues and protections are getting far more important

As your financial adviser, we work with you to reach your goals, in particularly to get you to and through retirement - ethically (for those who want ethical investments).  But a big risk to your financial security is if you have a cyber attack or have your identity stolen.

While identity theft has traditionally been something that you read about in books and articles in the USA, it definitely happens in New Zealand.  This article in the New Zealand Herald (which hopefully isn't paywalled) described what happened to a Wellington woman.  Identity theft costs Wellington woman her change of buying a home - but she wins a payout. [Chris Keall ]NZ Herald.

As a consequence, we believe that we can't stress strongly enough how important your cyber security is. 

As part of Carey's law degree honours paper, she has recently completed a Masters CyberSecurity Law paper, which covered the latest trends in cyber security risks.  We have seen the Waikato District Health Board brought to its knees for weeks by a ransomware attack, and the requirements for businesses to protect their systems and client data are increasing (almost daily). 

As an example, Moneyworks currently has 5 different backups of client information (including a 'cold' backup), as well as subscribing to cybersecurity awareness and training for all our team members on an annual basis, and cybersecurity is a topic that is regularly covered at our business meetings (as well as in ongoing discussions.)

Ransomware and other hacking techniques can be purchased online inexpensively or through apps.  An interesting analysis of the recent US hacks of the Colonial Pipeline and the Meat Processing industry can be found on this podcast from The Daily - Who is hacking the US economy (available wherever you get your podcasts).

However, if you don't work in an organisation that has regular cybersecurity training (eg you are retired) you are still at risk and the risks are continually evolving. To assist our clients we undertake an annual review project on a regular basis to ensure that their cyber security awareness is strong and as up to date as possible.

Some important things for you to know:
1. Password security.  You are probably sick of people telling you this - but you need to use UNIQUE, LONG, STRONG passwords.  Here is a link to an excellent video by CERT (the national cyber security agency) to remind you what to do - please watch.

2. Two Factor or Multi Factor Authentication.  Yes it is a pain in the ....  It takes longer to sign in to the website (and when you are having to use it 5 times in an hour at different websites just to get your work done it really is painful...), BUT it makes a difference. Many suppliers that Moneyworks uses are now adding this tool to the websites that we use to access client information.  There are many different ways that you can set up this second step to log in, including approving from an app on your phone or desktop computer, or being sent a text with a code.  But please do this!
3. Deep Fakes. This is the latest mechanism for tricking people into parting with their money.  You can create a deep fake video or synthetic copy of a person with cheap apps these days.

To show you how easy it is to get someone to say what you want to, here are some examples that are short and fun to look at.  But deep fakes are now being used to extort money from people within businesses, creating synthetic versions of their bosses (who may be in a different country) to convince the person to transfer money.  

Deepfake Queen: 2020 Alternative Christmas Message
Jordan Peel uses AI, President Obama in fake news PSA
The Princess and the Farmboy - Jacinda Adern/Clark Gayford

And one close to our hearts:
NZ Deep fake Chloe Swarbrick Speaks at the UN

More information on how Deep Fakes work can be found here:
TED Talk - How deep fakes undermine truth and threaten democracy

Scientific American 'In the event of moon disaster' - how the moon landing can be recreated using deep fakes.


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