Think your Gulf Shores mortgage data is secure? Think again!
If the ease with which hackers cracked into the financial information of millions of Target and Neiman Marcus customers has you worried about how easily your private data can be lifted from your mortgage company, wait until you hear what a major cyber security firm found out about lenders.
According to HALOCK Security Labs, mortgage companies big and small allow information-sharing practices that put your personal and financial data at grave risk. This goes for your Gulf Shores mortgage data as well.
In its investigation of 63 lenders, the firm discovered that seven out of 10 allowed applicants to send their info over un-encrypted email as attachments. Moreover, nearly the same percentage encouraged faxing sensitive data, which is somewhat less dangerous but still not as secure as encryption.
Only 40 percent of the lenders studied offered a postal mail option, and just 12 percent provided a secure email portal.
So how can you be sure your most personal financial information like your Gulf Shores mortgage data won't be snatched from your lender? Here are a few tips:
Making Sure Your Gulf Shores Mortgage Data Is Secure
Brand awareness. If you are sending anything online, be sure you are dealing with brand names. Hackers follow the path of least resistance, and the big-name lenders tend to have the strongest security measures.
Also, the lender's security systems are only as good as those of its weakest contractor. And the big lenders tend to work with only the strongest vendors.
Look for e-signatures. If a company offers an electronic signature process, it shows a heightened level of security awareness and sophistication.
Avoid un-encrypted email. Sending anything over the Internet invites trouble. But since regular emails can be hacked by anyone, use only password-encrypted email to send your information to your lender. Common sense goes a long way. People are too comfortable with regular email.
Says security blogger Graham Cluley: "If (email) was invented today, no one would use it. It's worth the extra effort to go through the paces of using a secure portal."
Stay away from drop-boxes. Drop-box technologies are fine for most data exchanges, but you have no clue who has access. Keep your private stuff private using encrypted email.
Watch for secure sites. When applying online or sending anything over the Internet, make sure the website itself is secure. Look to see if the URL begins with "https". And as you go from page to page, make sure the frame and URL have not changed. In other words, make sure the "s" is still there. Otherwise, you could become a victim of a phisher looking to steal your data.
Finally, there's this warning from Terry Kurzynski, a senior partner at HALOCK: "Any type of weak link in a system involving sensitive information exposes people to unnecessary risk. It takes months to recover from identify theft and only seconds to log into a secure portal. Do the math."
For other mortgage related tips, click the Gulf Shores Real Estate News link to your right under Gulf Shores Real Estate Categories.