Our computers are portals to a brave new world. As wondrous and useful as this world is, it can also be a dangerous place. Cyber crime takes many different forms, including but not limited to:
- Identity theft
- Viruses, ransomware, and other malware
- Phishing scams
- Cyber bullying
- Data theft and hacking
- Privacy breaches
- Web-based attacks
According to a survey conducted by Chubb Group of Insurance Companies, 80% of surveyed individuals are “somewhat” or “very” concerned about a cyber breach, but only 9% carry cyber insurance. Also, only 31% of people surveyed regularly change their online passwords (and how many of us use the same password for every website we visit?).
How can you protect yourself, your family, and your business? Here are some very basic tips for cyber safety:
- Use strong passwords. Avoid using words or numbers that would be easy to crack. Use random phrases with a combination of lower and upper-case letters, numbers, and symbols. Use unique passwords across websites. Better yet, use a password manager to create strong, unique passwords for each site you use.
- Only enter personal information on secure websites. Look in the address bar of your web browser and make sure there is a lock in front of the URL and that the URL begins with “https.”
- Be cautious when clicking on links in emails. If an email seems urgent for no reason, comes from someone you don’t know, uses poor grammar, asks for sensitive information, and/or contains links that don’t match the link text, do not click on any links in that email. In fact, if you have an email requesting that you click on a link or call a phone number, you are better off using a known phone number to call the institution who supposedly sent the email (for example, call your credit card company from the number on the back of your card).
- Be careful what you share on social media. Only share personal information, including posts, status updates, and pictures, with real-life friends and family.
- Remove yourself from public searches on social media sites. Most social media sites have a help section that can tell you how to do this. While you’re in the help section, check out how else you can protect your privacy using the settings available on that website.
- Purchase good antivirus and anti-malware software, and backup your data on a regular basis. Also consider purchasing cyber insurance
- If you are working remotely, make sure that all of your remote access hardware and software are up to date. Many remote access applications have known vulnerabilities that are patched by updates. Also, make sure that you are connected to a secure network before working with sensitive data, such as client files.
For more tips on protecting yourself, your family, and your business, check out Your Guide to Overcoming Cyber Threats from Chubb. If you own a business, talk to your insurance agent about cyber liability coverage. Some insurance carriers, such as Chubb, also offer cyber liability coverage on homeowners policies. Take this opportunity to talk to your agent, and if you don’t have an agent, give us a call!