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Everything and anything you use online is a potential problem - check out today's episode for some cybersecurity tips to protect yourself and your loved ones. 

In this episode, you get just me, Garrett! I will discuss some cybersecurity ideas and tips around fishing and identity theft. I will also be discussing some things you can do around password management and some available resources to help you navigate and maintain good internet hygiene. 

Here are a few topics I will cover: 

  • - Public computer risks
  • - Leaving information laying around
  • - Giving out information
  • - Reusing passwords
  • - Clicking links
  • - Money movement verification


Thanks for tuning in. Questions about today's episode let us know. 

Our Podcast – Your Investment Partners

Sit down with Paul and Garrett of Ascend Investment Partners for a bi-weekly conversation about all things financial. Focusing on helping you plan, keep, and grow for a bright future.


Full Transcript:

00;00;06;29 - 00;00;23;19

Garrett Smith

Hello and welcome to your investment partners with Paul and Garrett, where we talk about all things financial, focusing on helping you plan, keep and grow for a successful future. If you're new to the podcast, welcome. And if you're tuning in again, welcome back and thank you for listening. Hello and welcome to your investment partners with Paul and Garrett.

00;00;24;01 - 00;00;46;13

Garrett Smith

Today you get just me. We're going to be covering some cybersecurity ideas and tips around phishing and identity theft. Some things you can do around password management and some available resources to help you navigate and maintain good Internet hygiene. My name is Garrett Smith, and I look forward to having you with us today. Hello. Welcome. Welcome. Today's a solo episode for you.

00;00;47;07 - 00;01;08;15

Garrett Smith

This is Garrett Smith. Just wanted to cover a few areas that were on my mind, particularly concerning cybersecurity. Cybersecurity is something that is kind of broad based. It covers a lot of categories but can be very helpful to kind of understand the different areas where there may be potential problems. Basically, anything and everything you use online is a potential problem at a high level.

00;01;08;15 - 00;01;36;24

Garrett Smith

That's really what it is. Cybersecurity, you know, just security in general is kind of in in on and involved in everything that you do and you need to be conscious of it. The Department of Homeland Security always puts out various helpful tips and ideas, particularly those geared towards seniors. It is a common area. Anybody that gets up there in age tends to be kind of a focal point for attacks.

00;01;36;25 - 00;01;57;15

Garrett Smith

That's usually where the money is. And so that's where people go. And so if you're just getting used to and practicing good Internet hygiene, I guess, if you will, is a great way to do so. Just going to kind of walk through a few security tips that the Department of Homeland Security has put out for this year to remind you of different areas to kind of keep an eye on.

00;01;57;29 - 00;02;22;20

Garrett Smith

You know, anytime we use email, instant messaging, you know, that's more of just those chat boxes now and personal websites. They're just really convenient to stay in formed and stay connected to people. You know, these can be social media apps as well as just different websites. And they're they're really convenient and they are a good thing. And whether we're using those at home or kind of out in the public can be of concern.

00;02;23;00 - 00;02;41;15

Garrett Smith

Public computers do offer kind of a unique risk. These are computers, say, in a library, or if you go and just one that has public access to multiple people can use it. So anything other than you're just your personal device, I need to be a little extra careful on those. And in kind of another way to think about it.

00;02;41;15 - 00;03;02;09

Garrett Smith

So anything you touch online, you need to be careful with. But it's really similar to what happens in real life too. If you leave information laying around, it can be a problem If you just easily trust and give out information freely in real life, you know, over the counter at the department store or wherever, there's the same things happen online.

00;03;02;28 - 00;03;32;07

Garrett Smith

So kind of using those experiences from day to day life can also help when you're when you're moving online. And so kind of one of the biggest areas is identity theft. It's just basically the illegal use of somebody else's identity. And this is when somebody captures personal information and they can impersonate you online through verifications and different aspects to appear as you even though they are not obviously not you.

00;03;33;02 - 00;03;52;04

Garrett Smith

Identity theft is a growing problem, will be a problem for the rest of forever, particularly as technology advances and more data is collected on each one of us. You know, we all have a digital footprint regardless of if we have a we have this we have an online account. You know, you may have never signed up for anything ever.

00;03;52;04 - 00;04;14;02

Garrett Smith

But if somebody has speech recognition software around you, there's likely some recording gathering in a database being created on on your voice. If you've gone into a store, cameras, there's just in any way, shape or form. So if you you know, one thing I want to encourage you, if you say like, oh, this is not for me, I do not have any online accounts in any way, shape or form.

00;04;15;23 - 00;04;40;26

Garrett Smith

It's not necessarily the case. There are still things you need to do to kind of be wary and be be cautious of it. And kind of before we dive into these specifically, there are companies out there that offer to kind of monitor, view or review your identity protection. There can be good things, the ones you want to look for, those that kind of provide insurance if your identity is stolen, because then they're on the hook with you.

00;04;41;03 - 00;04;59;26

Garrett Smith

You don't just want, in my opinion, you don't want those that just monitor and alert you. Like if you have says, Hey, we discovered your email that's being used elsewhere, go and deal with it. That is, you know, one good thing, but having more of an insurance product tied to it. So, hey, your email address is being used elsewhere.

00;04;59;26 - 00;05;25;17

Garrett Smith

Let's get it solved. Because if we don't, we have X amount of dollars that we can will be providing in identity theft loss if something were to happen to you. So there incentivize just like you are to get it resolved. So just right off the bat, there are great insurance products, but the ones you specifically want to look for, those that kind of get the insurance company on your side where instead of just monitoring the online behavior.

00;05;25;18 - 00;05;50;25

Garrett Smith

So that's just a side note there. So let's kind of talk about these some identity theft tips to kind of prevent that. You know, the the biggest thing you can do is just work to avoid that. One of the most obvious one is to not reuse passwords. This is really difficult. I you know, I understand it's using a password is is you're just trying to remember them.

00;05;51;15 - 00;06;13;11

Garrett Smith

I'm a personal fan of using password management software, the one I use personally is LastPass. Not necessarily endorsing it or not. They've had some problems there, like they've all had some problems. I've just been using it for a number of years, so I've kind of gotten comfortable with it. More is on the search for for better ones. So if you have another suggestion, let me know and we can spread the word about it too.

00;06;13;21 - 00;06;46;07

Garrett Smith

But password management software, basically what it is, is you have one master password and then it creates a wide range of passwords so you can use them for all different areas. The reason why I like it is then my bank account password is different than my cable bill password. You never want those two to cross because oftentimes what happens in these identity theft tax is there's it's a third party or smaller website that gets it.

00;06;46;07 - 00;07;07;02

Garrett Smith

Their information leaked. So they get your email and your password, and then they'll just start checking major banks, major financial institutions and on down the list to say, hey, does this password work with this email address to give us access to anything else? And so it might not be the same place that leaks the information that has the problem, whether it, you know, by mistake.

00;07;07;02 - 00;07;29;12

Garrett Smith

But it can cross contaminate into other areas. So if you can use different passwords, that's I think rule number one on line is have different passwords. There's different ways to kind of create a password. Obviously, I'm a fan of a password manager, so I don't even know my passwords. There's a few that I remember that are unique because I don't even want those written down.

00;07;30;02 - 00;07;54;08

Garrett Smith

And so I use like a mnemonic device. I use a poem in my head that I will then just use the first letter of each poem say, or it can be a scripture, it can be anything else. But then that way you kind of have the acronym, if you will tell it, you remember that password, and if you can easily remember five or six of those, and those are great for your, you know, particularly sensitive information.

00;07;54;08 - 00;08;20;26

Garrett Smith

So security information, banking information, financial information, those you want to keep, maybe not necessarily even written down. So that's one thing that I would do, is use a variety of passwords that you can remember and then maybe use a password manager for kind of all the, you know, your Disney Plus log in and kind of all those other smaller ones that don't necessarily have too much personal information involved with them.

00;08;21;23 - 00;08;50;25

Garrett Smith

So, yeah, rule number one, don't use the same password as well as when you're creating a password. You always want to make it a strong password, whether you're creating it yourself or you're using a password manager you want to include. As long as they will let you. You know, oftentimes there's a 20 character max for your password, but you want to include uppercase and lowercase symbols, different characters as to make the password more and more complex.

00;08;51;02 - 00;09;18;03

Garrett Smith

It's just not yet. You know, it's a little bit password management's a little bit like having lights on in your house. You just want to don't want to be the darkest house on the street. Right. And the passwords are similar kind of another tip is to not reveal any personal or identifiable information online. The amount of information we share on social media is worrisome for a lot of reasons, because once it's there, it's always there.

00;09;18;29 - 00;09;43;03

Garrett Smith

I think we've kind of started to learn as a society, kind of the drawbacks to that. I'm not saying you can't, but, you know, saying that you're going to be in Hawaii for ten days and the house is going to be sitting empty is probably not the best thing to share online. Maybe share that once you get back and another thing, too, is oftentimes pop up boxes or things appear on a website and say, hey, give us your personal information to redeem this offer.

00;09;44;19 - 00;10;09;06

Garrett Smith

Be really cautious of turning over personally identifiable information. You know, this is like your full name, telephone number, address, particularly Social Security number, your insurance policy numbers. You know, you're you're checking a savings account numbers, investment account numbers, credit card information, your doctor's name. You know, there's there's all sorts of ways to kind of compile this information that get sold.

00;10;09;06 - 00;10;43;05

Garrett Smith

And so the less you can provide willingly, the better. So always be cautious of that. This this next tip is is a big one and it's it's links that come in either email or text message. I'm not a fan of clicking on really any link from an email or a text message because emails can easily be faked. They can look real, they can look legitimate and and then you click a link and I'll send you're headed somewhere that you're you're not wanting to go.

00;10;43;17 - 00;11;03;22

Garrett Smith

So for example, if you get a link that says, Hey, your bank accounts been exposed, you need to change your password, click the link here instead of clicking that link. What I would do is go directly to the your banking institution, log in directly there and change the password so you're not using the email to take you there.

00;11;03;22 - 00;11;27;04

Garrett Smith

You're just going there directly because then you know you'll enter the the website, address the URL correctly. So that's one big tip. It's not clicking the link, just navigating there directly or through Google if you prefer. So it's just it's just a different route than the notification you got. It happens a lot more in text messaging now too, of, Hey, we saw this notice.

00;11;27;04 - 00;11;44;26

Garrett Smith

Click here to learn more and you click in. Yeah, hit that on your phone and all sudden off you go. So just any time you see a link, just be really careful and it'll kind of build in the rule of thumb of just not to click those and then help those around you to, to, to kind of refresh and remind them.

00;11;45;19 - 00;12;03;19

Garrett Smith

That's how we always feel about these tips. It's always a good reminder. You know, if you're looking for a topic at a family dinner or a family night, just kind of doing a little research and reminding mom and dad or mine and your kids or siblings, you know, that, hey, you know, we can all be a little bit more careful here.

00;12;04;16 - 00;20;04;01

Garrett Smith

There's just too much at stake. And just taking a little little extra caution can go a long ways. So you have to just don't don't be clicking links whether it's come email or text. And one thing that you always.


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The commentary on this website reflects the personal opinions, viewpoints and analyses of the Ascend Investment Partners employees providing such comments, and should not be regarded as a description of advisory services provided by Kesler, Norman & Wride, LLC dba Ascend Investment Partners or performance returns of any Ascend Investment Partners Investments client. The views reflected in the commentary are subject to change at any time without notice. Nothing on this website constitutes investment advice, performance data or any recommendation that any particular security, portfolio of securities, transaction or investment strategy is suitable for any specific person. Any mention of a particular security and related performance data is not a recommendation to buy or sell that security. Ascend Investment Partners manages its clients’ accounts using a variety of investment techniques and strategies, which are not necessarily discussed in the commentary. Investments in securities involve the risk of loss. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. 

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