You’ve probably read about data breaches at large companies such as Equifax, Target, and Home Depot as well as other types of cyber security breaches. But did you know that small businesses and even individuals are also at risk and can find themselves devastated by a cyber attack? In fact, Florida has the second highest number of victims of cybercrime in the U.S., and ranks third in the nation for frequency of identity theft, according to the Insurance Information Institute (III).
Phishing and Ransomware
Two of the most common cybercrimes are phishing and ransomware. Phishing refers to hackers trying to trick you into sharing your private information through an email or a webpage offer. Popular phishing schemes include emails that purport to be from your bank or credit card company, a friend in need of money, or threatening you for some unnamed illegal action.
Ransomware is malicious software (malware) designed to block access to your system and demanding ransom payment to restore access.
There are things you can do to protect yourself. These tips apply to individuals, employees, and business owners.
To protect yourself
- Create strong, unique passwords. Passwords are your first line of defense against cyber criminals. DO NOT use the same password for all your login credentials. If you have a hard time remembering your passwords, download an app to store them.
- Use extreme caution when clicking links or opening email attachments. Don’t click links appearing in emails if you have any doubt at all about their legitimacy, even if the email looks like it’s from someone you know. Be skeptical of any urgent requests for money or bank transfers.
- Protect your personal information. If you get an email from your bank or credit card company requesting personal information, call the number on your credit card or statement to verify the request.
- Look for the security lock symbol in the web address of any site that asks for your personal information. Click on the lock to check that it has an up-to-date security certificate.
- Keep all system software up to date.
- Install, update and run security software such as anti-virus and malware protection programs.
- Back up and store data at a secure offsite location.
One more tip, if you have your own business: Consider buying cyber insurance (also known as cyber liability insurance). Business owners policies may provide some coverage for losses related to cyber incidents such as a computer virus or hardware failure. However, to better protect your business, consider buying a stand-alone cyber insurance policy tailored to your specific business needs. Cyber insurance covers several types of risks including, loss or corruption of data, business interruption, liability, identity theft, cyber extortion, and data breach.
“Virtually all businesses use information technology (IT) in some way—to communicate via email, to provide information or services through a website, to store and use customer data and more. Your business can be held liable if certain data is compromised….” notes the III.
At Lakewood Financial, we take cyber security seriously, taking steps to protect both our business and our clients’ personal information. Please call us at 941-747-4600 if you need to discuss cyber insurance, or any other aspect of commercial or personal lines insurance.