Broker Check

Cyber Security

Linda Visconti, QKA 

Retirement Plan Administrator

You know to change up your passwords, and many sites may prompt you to change whether you want to or not. We all know to make our passwords secure and not use 123456 or Password. But are they strong enough?

I recently saw a bit on Netflix from Michael McIntyre*, a comedian from the UK, regarding passwords. I am paraphrasing, but at one time it was easy – all lower case. Then to protect you, they insisted on one upper case letter and at least one number. Piece of cake, right? Just capitalize the first letter of your password and add ‘1’ at the end. Then they introduced the world of ‘special characters. A whole new world of #$?%@! Much harder, allegedly, to hack. So, what do we do? Just add a ‘!’ to the end of our password. As Mr. McIntyre pointed out - you are all right now thinking ‘I better change my password’, aren’t you? Because this is the format many of us are using for our secure passwords!

In addition to updating your passwords routinely to your secure sites, you also need to make sure you’ve updated all of your contact information (your home address or your email address, and cell or home phone number) on all the sites you visit. If there is a hack, or someone is trying to access your accounts, the institution must know how to contact you. I’ve seen distribution requests rejected because the address on file is not the same as the address on the distribution form. The former participant says, ‘But I moved to a new state three years ago.’ Not only can something like this this slow the process, some institutions may require you to get the forms notarized if the address is different. Might seem like an inconvenience, but it is their way of keeping your account safe and secure.

Take a few minutes to update the contact information on the sites you visit regularly. It will help to keep your data secure and save time and headaches later.


*Google Michael McIntyre passwords to view on You Tube