6 Rules of Online Safety for Agents and Their Clients

6 Rules of Online Safety for Agents and Their Clients

If multi-billion dollar corporations and the U.S. government are struggling to protect themselves against cyberattacks, you can bet that it’s not that hard for a hacker to gain access to your online accounts. That is a threat to you as well as to your clients.

While there’s no way to ensure that your system will never be infiltrated, there are a number of common-sense measures you can put in place to significantly reduce the risk.

Take passwords seriously
Yes, it’s much easier to use the same simple password for every account –– email, banking, etc. But that’s what hackers want you to do. You should use different passwords for every account and be as complex as possible, using a combination of upper and lower case letters, numbers and symbols.

Don’t be predictable
Furthermore, you’re better off trying to come up with something completely random, rather than using the names of relatives or other subjects that you frequently refer to on social media or in emails (pets, favorite sports teams). Hackers will use that information to try to guess your password.

Get a password manager
It’s hard to remember a bunch of different passwords, which is why the tech savvy recommend using a strong password manager that remembers all of your passwords and automatically provides it for any site that you’re logging into. That means that you can come up with complex, unguessable passwords for every site without having to worry about remembering them.

Stop ignoring updates!
It never seems like a convenient time to download the software updates that pop-up on your computer screen every couple weeks. But if you want your computer to keep operating up to par, while eliminating bugs in the security system, you need to bite the bullet and just do it. Especially if you have a machine running Microsoft, it will only take a few minutes! If you don’t update regularly, your computer will be more vulnerable to attacks.

Avoid public WiFi
Beware of public WiFi in places, such as coffee shops. Avoid accessing bank accounts or conducting financial transactions when you’re using a public network, even if it’s password-protected.

When in doubt, don’t click on the link!
If you get an email or social media message from somebody you’ve never met telling you to click on a link, it’s highly likely that it’s a “phishing” attempt aimed at infiltrating your account or computer. Emails addressed to “Dear Sir” or “Dear Madam” are almost always spam but there are also more sophisticated spammers who might use your real name and even look like it comes from one of your current account providers (banks, insurance, etc.).

If you get what appears to be a sketchy email or message asking you to click on a link, be safe and ask the person who sent you the message if they actually sent it. If they didn’t, they’ll be grateful that you alerted them of the issue. If you get an email from one of your account providers, then you should look at the originating email address to see if it looks like it actually came from the provider itself and not a stranger.

What do you do to keep your personal information safe? Please share with us and your fellow real estate agents, either in a comment or on Facebook or Twitter!

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