Cyberattacks take many forms and can target both businesses and private individuals. For example, criminals may access financial information or set up new accounts in your name, or install harmful software that disrupts your computer or transmits data from your hard drive. Since October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month, we would like to join others in government private industry to draw attention to cyber threats and digital security.
The good news is that there are many ways to safeguard your personal information. These simple habits will greatly reduce your chance of becoming a victim. Here are some basic cybersecurity recommendations from the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA).
Cyber safe tips
1. Create strong passwords. Choose a unique password for each account, and change your passwords regularly. Longer passwords are more secure, so consider using a phrase of four or more random words. You may want to use a dedicated password manager to keep track of your passwords. A password manager stores your login information in an encrypted database. It will help you login automatically to the websites you routinely visit, and the only password you’ll have to remember is the master password for the password manager.
2. Use multi-factor authentication when available. Multi-factor authentication involves using two of the three following credentials: something you know—a password or PIN; something you have—a token or ID card; and something you are—a biometric marker such as a fingerprint.
3. For security questions, use only information you would know—not information someone could discover by checking out your social media. And while we’re mentioning social media, be careful what information you share there. Pets and children’s names, schools you attended, and so on, are often used as security questions, and posting them exposes that information to bad actors.
4. Keep your software updated. Manufacturer’s updates often patch security problems. Just be careful to update only from the appropriate manufacturer’s website or built-in application stores to avoid problems.
5. Only use secure internet connections you trust. Be very careful of public networks, which are not secure. Don’t use public networks to make purchases or make other sensitive transactions.
6. Install a reputable anti-virus program.
7. Recognize and report phishing and other forms of social engineering. Phishing involves using fake communication, like an email, to trick you into sharing sensitive personal information. It may request account numbers or your social security number, suggesting there is a problem. Once you respond with the information, the cybercriminal uses it to access or open accounts. Never click on links or open attachments from unsolicited emails.
And beware: Criminals may capitalize on current events and disasters, such as Hurricane Ian. You may see online solicitation or social media posts from people posing as victims. If you want to help, be sure to send donations to established, legitimate charitable organizations.
If you own a business—protect yourself with cyber insurance
If your business uses or stores customers’ sensitive personal information, you may want to investigate cyber insurance. Cyber insurance protects your liability in the event of a data breach, something a general liability policy often excludes. Cyber insurance covers several types of risks including loss or corruption of data, business interruption, liability, identity theft, cyber extortion, and data breach.
Call Lakewood Financial for all your insurance needs
Whether you need personal or business insurance (including cyber insurance), Lakewood Financial Services has you covered. We will be happy to discuss cyber insurance, or any other aspect of business or personal insurance. We are an all-lines agency, independently owned and operated, located in Lakewood Ranch, FL. We’ve served clients in Bradenton, Sarasota, Lakewood Ranch and surrounding communities for more than 25 years. Please call us at 941-747-4600, or click here to contact us online.
For more information on cyber safety, visit the Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency website at https://www.cisa.gov/uscert/ncas/tips