Financial Resource Center

Retirement Planning

Protect Your Nest Egg From Cyberattack

by Rena Crispin, CUDE, CCUFC / February 5th, 2021

Don’t assume your retirement accounts are safe from hackers just because they’re insured by the FDIC (Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation) or NCUA (National Credit Union Administration). Hackers are poised to move from retailers to financial institutions, and your retirement accounts are squarely in their crosshairs.

Don’t make it easy for cybercriminals. They’re getting smarter and so must you. Here are five things to ask your broker:


  • Where can you find the firm's written information security policy? If it doesn't have one that's a big red flag. Also ask if it performs regular audits to ensure the policy is being followed. When was the last one conducted?
  • How would the firm notify you if your personal information or assets were compromised? Request a rundown of the firm’s cyberattack protocol. If they don’t have one—and don’t have a plan for what happens afterward—that’s a red flag.
  • How is the firm’s physical security? Stop by the office and look to see if loose papers with client information lying around—there shouldn't be. Look for locks on all security cabinets. Ask if there are periodic risk assessments for physical theft of client information.
  • What is their cloud security? Find out if your firm uses multifactor authentication techniques to make it harder for hackers to access their cloud-based services and if they have performed a risk assessment.
  • How do they transmit data? Ensure your adviser will never allow a withdrawal unless you provide a passphrase or answer a challenge question to authenticate your identity. Your firm should be encrypting data in transmission and requiring two-factor authentication.


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