As your family grows — or more appropriately, grows up — each member gets an email address just like everyone else’s, such as:
Family email addresses from Google, Apple and Microsoft are free, easy to get and, of course, super-convenient. No IT company is required to sign up for one of these email accounts — set up your email account online, and you can send and receive emails instantly.
But have you ever wondered if your family is really secure if it’s using the same email service as millions of other people?
Ultimately, you might want to think twice about having your family use Google, Apple and Microsoft email services. Why exactly? Because these email services provide an easy path to hacking, extortion and even — in extreme cases — kidnapping.
C’mon, Kidnapping? How Could a Gmail Account Lead to Kidnapping?
The email address that we use most is the one that we’ll use to recover our passwords for social media services such as Facebook, SnapChat and Twitter. However, most people don’t realize that adding their email as a “recovery address” can be used against them.
For example, if an end-user gets phished — in other words, someone sends him or her a link that allows this individual to enter an email address and password onto a server that doesn’t actually belong to Google, Apple or Microsoft — then he or she gives email account access to a cyberattacker. He or she also gives a cyberattacker the ability to change an email password, which could prevent the actual user (your family member) from getting into his or her account.
The hacker can then use that email account to reset passwords across an end-user’s social media accounts. Additionally, once a hacker has access to an end-user’s social media accounts (and even popular apps like Strava), he or she can use the information archived or stored in those accounts to track the user’s location or collect texts or photos that can be used for blackmail and extortion.
Of course, social media services restrict location sharing and text and photo archiving. But with all of the apps that your family has installed across its devices, has each family member taken the time to set up everything properly? No doubt, your family likely has left something exposed along the way.
How Does a Family Office Domain Help Protect Against Cyberattacks?
There are five reasons to get a family office domain:
Hackers frequently target big tech companies.
According to an internal study, Google found that “12% of the exposed records included a Gmail address serving as a username… [and] attackers frequently target Google accounts to varying success: 12-25% of attacks yield a valid password.”
Domain security can be fine-tuned based on your security needs.
With a family office domain, you can receive notifications if two logins happen from two countries within a few hours of each other (like the United States and Russia). Comparatively, these advanced email security features are not available for free with Google, Apple and Microsoft.
Domain security can be easily monitored.
TSP ensures that trained professionals monitor and analyze email security threats — whereas with a Google, Apple or Microsoft account, you’re flying blind if there’s a security problem.
Advanced filtering services will work properly.
Filtering services like Microsoft’s Office 365 ATP Safe Links or Mimecast only work on owned domains. These services scan and block bad links to attachments and websites — even days or weeks after an email is delivered. Thus, you’re protected against a link that might work properly today but could get hacked down the line.
You have unprecedented email security control.
If you suspect that an account has been hacked, you’re not dealing with Google, Apple or Microsoft. Instead, you can work with TSP to shut down account access and reset your account password. We specialize in providing Apple support in Boston for small businesses. If you feel your Mac Mail, Gmail, or other email account has been compromised, please contact us today.
But Won’t Family Members Complain About Losing Their Email Address?
Of course, no one wants to change their email address, but Gmail, Mac.com and Outlook email addresses can be forwarded to your new family office domain. Once you forward an email to your family office domain, it gets scanned and vetted just like anything else — so hackers sending email to your family’s old email addresses will get blocked.
Also, domains can be hosted on Google, Apple or Microsoft, so family members can still use the familiar email interface that they know and love. Therefore, other than sending emails from a new email address, there are minimal changes for your family.
With an internet domain, you’re getting enterprise-grade security for your family office — and given the risks that you run are as great as those associated with any business, it’s the only sensible approach to maximize email security.
Choose the Right Family Office Domain
As you get set to upgrade your family office email service, here are four tips to help you determine the right family office domain:
Avoid a vanity domain
Use a generic, unobtrusive domain that stays under the radar.
Keep all domain contact information private.
Internet registrars like Hover.com activate contact privacy by default. Or, have TSP register your domain name to ensure that your domain contact information stays private.
Use an IT service provider.
Work with TSP — and our U.S.-resident, background checked, full-time employees — for family office domain cyber security consulting and support.
Do not share your domain with others.
Mums the word, so disclose your domain to family members you trust — and no one else.
At TSP, we’re committed to helping family offices protect their critical data against cyberattacks. To learn more about our family office cyber security offerings, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 617-267-9716.