fbpx

Email: office@bloomfieldfinancial.co.uk

Call: 0191 406 6453

Bloomfield Financial's Blog

Email Security – Take It Seriously

Written by John J Bloomfield

padlocks financial security

In recent years email use has increased massively for many of my clients it has become the main way that they contact me to schedule an appointment. Email is an incredibly convenient tool particularly with the advent of Smartphone's but it is not without risks.

The regulators within financial services have for quite some time now been concerned with 'email interception' I won't bore you with the mechanics but a fair analogy is that of the postcard.

 

Email is like a postcard it finds its way to you across the internet without anything covering your message – those who have the tools to do so can read the message just as a postman can read your postcard. Now while it's not been common and I have never heard of anyone having their email 'read' like this the regulators would like us to be mindful of how sensitive the information we are sending is. When the information is sensitive they would like us to effectively put the message in an envelope with a lock on it, to make it very difficult if not impossible for the postman to read the message.

This past week I have also been alerted by our compliance department to an email scam that is being aimed at the clients of financial advisers, it doesn't seem to be widespread yet but it's best to take precautions. Without going into too much detail, your email password is hacked, the hacker then looks through your inbox to find any emails from a financial adviser and replies to them asking for sensitive information that they might be able to use as part of a larger scam. And because they have changed your password they can collect the adviser's response rather than you! So make sure you have a good password, to begin with.

Over the years I have trialled several different methods for sending sensitive information by email to those clients who prefer to receive it that way to find a solution that keeps the essential convenience of email while making the information secure. All have been secure but have had varying degrees of ease of use.

I have now settled on a system called Lockedmail and as my client/potential client I can set you up with a free account. Lockedmail is like you and I have a 'security deposit box' in to which we can leave each other messages, unlike email these messages don't fly around the internet so they can't be read by anyone who happens to see them on the move. When we leave a message for one another they system simply send out an email that says – you have a message waiting on lockedmail.

When you're logged in to lockedmail it looks just like an ordinary email account, you have an inbox, sent items etc. You can send an unlimited number of replies to people who have already messaged via lockedmail you and you can send 6 messages a month to people not on the system – they will be asked to join in order to read your secure message. (If you want to add more than 6 new contacts a month then you will need to upgrade to a paid account) – but I think that's more than enough for most people as you can just reply to people already on the system.

I'll set you up on the system if you ever ask me to send you anything 'sensitive' but if you're already a client and you would like to be set up now in preparation so that you can see how it works and just have a play etc. then just send me a message using the form on this page – asking me to set you up now – once I have done so you will receive your first email asking you to go to the site and answer some random security questions that you and I know the answer to.

 

Image 'locks' by Shannon Ramos made available via Flickr Creative Commons 'Attribution Licence'