How to Protect Your Retirement Accounts From Hack Attacks

Bank accounts have always been the most lucrative targets for hackers, but recently retirement account hacks have become a close second. Cybercriminals are attacking retirement and loan accounts at an alarming rate, and the idea of losing your retirement is a scary one. Even though the overall number of identity theft crimes has decreased a bit in recent years, hackers have started targeting new types of financial accounts, like retirement plans, according to the 2019 Identity Fraud Study from Javelin Strategy & Research. I specifically mentioned identity theft, because it can give the hackers a way into your loan and retirement accounts.

Usually, hackers use the information they steal for their own malicious purposes, but sometimes they can sell this sensitive data on the dark web. Every financial institution is required by law to have security measures in place before a withdrawal occurs, but none of them are uncrackable. If someone used your stolen data to open your retirement account, it could mean the loss of your entire retirement fund. These accounts have become very tempting to hackers in recent years, because they're not checked very often, at least compared to other types of financial accounts.

You need to be 100% sure that you access your retirement account in a safe and secure manner so that you don't become their next victim. A hacked account can be extremely harmful to a person, especially when it affects their future. "The financial hardships that may be caused by identity theft or a scam can last for months or years after your personal information is exposed," said Paige Hanson, head of identity education at NortonLifeLock.

I will outline the most effective ways to keep your retirement accounts safe in this article.

Keep an eye on your accounts.

We are typically advised not to check our retirement accounts too often, because market instability could cause a balance to appear lower than we would expect, which in turn would cause unneeded concern. On the other hand, we should sign into the account every once in a while, just to make sure our account info hasn't changed.

"We often don't check our retirement accounts as often as other accounts, such as your email, credit card or bank account," Hanson said. It would be best to set up notifications whenever someone logs into our accounts so that we could react and contact the compliance department of the custodian as soon as possible.

Make sure your information secure

We must always be careful with sensitive information, like the Social Security number, passwords, physical address or phone number. You may not even know when your information has been compromised until it is too late. "Thieves may not use your information for months or even years, waiting for a time when you may not be as attentive to the risk," Hanson said.

Perhaps the best way to make sure our information is safe is to use a password manager. It can remember out passwords for us as well as generate new secure passwords. A password manager also has Two-Factor Authentication built-in, which will add another vital layer of security between the hackers and your retirement funds.

Also, make sure you give your personal information only to secure websites and institutions, and only when necessary. Virtually everyone shops online these days, but the data we send can easily be stolen. Most websites and online stores are just not very well protected, unfortunately.

Update your devices

It is crucial that you keep all of your devices and anti-malware apps updated. Hackers routinely exploit vulnerabilities in outdated software, which can result in a data breach. Updating your software reduces the chances of this happening.

March 26, 2020

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