FINANCE

CAUTION REQUIRED

Affluence's Digital Blindspot That Could Make Them Cyber Attack Targets.

MYKOLAS RAMBUS, CEO OF HUSH

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It seems like every day; there is a news story about a data breach or identity theft. And no one is immune to that threat, not even high net worth families. In fact, they are some of the biggest targets for cyber-attacks due to the size of the impact a bad player could have on such a target. It can be easy to think you're protected against a virtual assault, but there are blindspots most people likely haven't considered.

According to Private & Confidential: The Cyber Security Report by Campden Research, 28% of ultra-high net worth international families and businesses have experienced a cyber attack in the past, with North America reporting the highest level (41%) of attacks. And these attacks go beyond draining a bank account; cyber attacks can lead to extortion, smear campaigns, and blackmail that could have a massive impact on the future of personal and business matters. While reputation is something that 98% of families cited as important to their family's success, over a third (38%) of participants said they don't currently have a cyber security plan in place.

So, what should these families be on the lookout for not to fall victim to such schemes? Yes, changing passwords and having two-factor authentication provides protection. At Hush, where we proactively take control of your digital privacy, we suggest four things you can do to kick that defense up a notch.

Take Out a Mortgage Through a Trust

So much is tied to our home address, mainly for affluent individuals, and is a significant source of data leakage. Once that home address is identified, families are more prone to identity theft. That's why we suggest anyone with a jumbo mortgage in this country do it through a trust. It costs $1,500, maybe a few thousand dollars tops, to put it in an entity where not everyone who drives down the street can type in your home address and figure out who lives in the big house on the hill. It's an easy way to protect your home address.

Review Past Public Accounts

Every three to five years, a new social media platform emerges. It was Tumblr or MySpace ages ago, then Facebook and Snapchat, now TikTok and Clubhouse. But people often forget about their accounts on those old platforms, which change their privacy policies frequently. What you thought was locked down six months ago is no longer locked down. The simple act of sufficiently locking down social media profiles past and present is an added layer of protection against a cyber attack.

Pay Attention to Kids' Social Media

There's another critical point to consider regarding social media and cyber security. While your accounts might be on lockdown, those of family members—in particular children—are likely not. Kids are always on social media posting. There's a famous case of Michael Dell's daughter posting a private jet photo and saying where she was going. She ultimately had to take down her accounts for fear of being kidnapped for ransom. There's also the issue of social media at a house party. You have a beautiful home and invite people over for a great party. Guests take photos and share them on social media, tag your kids, and those photos can accidentally leak details of where you're living and what valuables are in your home. Even if it's done with good intent, that information is still out there.

Don't Post About Vacations or Valuables

When you post a photo saying, "Looking forward to a great trip in St. Barth's," bad players know you'll be out of town, making you a target for burglary. Take a social media pause while on vacation, or delay posting those fun beach photos until you return home. The same is true for sharing photos of your valuables; these photos make you a target. Sadly, we saw this play out with Kim Kardashian when robbers attacked her looking for diamonds she posted on Instagram.

At Hush, we understand that people want to live their lives. That's why we offer a proactive service that scours the internet for a family's entire digital footprint and then determines exactly which items are at risk. It's better to do something preemptively to prevent the stress of identity theft or a cyber attack than spend the money cleaning up after one. And these few tips above can add a solid layer of protection.