Technological advancements make life easier. But, they can come at a cost. Every day it seems like another data breach story hits the news. As individuals and families use more technology, there is a lot at stake when it comes to protecting themselves online.
We increasingly rely on the Internet to work, bank, shop and socialize. Our health and financial information is stored online and devices are connected to control everything from home security systems to thermostats and TVs. While convenient, these connections open the door for possible malicious activity.
Small companies are targets for hackers as they possess sensitive information but typically have less security than larger companies. Cybersecurity insurance provides coverage for compromised security or privacy breaches at work. Business cybersecurity policies tend to be highly customized and therefore, costly.
FAQ & Questions
Questions? We’ve got you covered.
Is the website I'm visiting secure?
Think twice before sharing personal and financial information online. If a website seems fishy, proceed with caution. A secure website’s URL should begin with "https" rather than "http." The "s" stands for secure.
Millions of people are online at any given time, some of whom are thieves looking to steal your identity. These hackers can be found collecting information from unsuspecting "pop-ups," surfing unsecured networks or hacking into retail web sites. Be sure to always use a secured network, and frequently update firewall protections on your computer. Also limit the amount of personal information you post on networking web sites.
What should I do if a fake account is opened with my identity?
Take action. If you notice a new account has been opened in your name without your permission, immediately contact one of the three major credit bureaus-Equifax, Experian or TransUnion-and ask that a "fraud alert" be placed on your record. Once the alert is placed, the other two bureaus will be notified, and creditors will be required to contact you directly before opening new accounts or making changes to existing accounts. In addition, file a police report and submit a complaint to the Federal Trade Commission. You also might consider enrolling in paid services that monitor your credit report and alert you when someone applies for credit in your name or account information is altered.
Should I shred mail?
Shred, Shred, Shred. Open all mail and read it carefully—even the items that might appear to be junk mail could contain personal offers. Any items with personal information, such as pre-approved credit offers, bank statements or utility bills should be shredded before being discarded.
Do I need identity theft protection?
Consider it. Several insurance companies offer identity theft insurance. Although it cannot protect you from becoming a victim of identity theft, this insurance provides coverage for the cost of reclaiming your financial identity, such as the expenses of placing phone calls, making copies, mailing documents, taking time off from work without pay and hiring an attorney. As with any insurance policy, make sure you understand what you are purchasing and compare prices, coverages and deductibles among multiple insurers.
Do any of my polices offer coverage for identity theft?
Some homeowners policies now offer identity theft protection, including access to credit monitoring and repair services in the event of a breach. This coverage may not refund what was lost, but instead cover the costs associated with restoring your personal identity.
Have a business? We can help.
What coverage does my business need?
If you are a small business owner, you may need more insurance coverage than others. Talk to your insurance agents to understand options for protecting financial data or other sensitive information.
Conduct a security and self-risk assessment. Determine what to protect, what protections exist and where the gaps exist. Identify the tools you need to protect this information.
Are we doing enough to prevent attacks?
Small businesses lose an average of $38,000 per cybersecurity incident, causing nearly 60 percent of impacted businesses to shutter their doors within six months. Affordable programs are available that won't conflict with your antivirus software. Learn the landscape and have an understanding about protecting your most valuable digital assets.
What about the staff?
Implement sound cybersecurity procedures and training for employees. Educate employees on smart use of social media, how to spot suspicious emails and not connecting to public Wi-Fi on a company device.
Does my business need a recovery plan?
If your small business has a disaster recovery plan, consider cybersecurity insurance as part of it. If you don't have such a plan, consider creating one. Developing procedures and identifying threats is important but you also must understand your vulnerabilities.
Always back up important business systems and data. Implement settings encouraging regular password changes, restrictions on the websites employees can access, as well as strong security software.
Tips & Tools
Be prepared when you're online.
Keep Tabs On Your Information
Monitor your children’s information as well as your own. Partly because of their unused credit and Social Security numbers, children are targeted for identity theft 35 times more often than adults.
Know What's In Your Wallet
Avoid carrying your Social Security number in your wallet or purse. This number provides access to personal information, and it should be stored in a safe and protected place. In addition, only carry the credit cards you need. This practice limits access to your accounts in the event that your purse or wallet is lost or stolen. It’s also a good idea to periodically photocopy your cards and keep a record of the customer service phone numbers associated with your financial accounts to speed up the process of cancelling credit cards, if needed.
Monitor Your Accounts
Monitor your revolving accounts and credit score. Check your bank, credit card and other financial account information, along with your credit score, once a year to reduce the risk of unauthorized charges or credit applications. If you see a suspicious charge, immediately contact your financial institution.
Understand Policy Terms
Banks and credit card companies typically offer fraud protection, so learn the policy terms. Victims of identity theft may be eligible for free security freeze services as provided by each state’s security freeze law. If you keep money in investment accounts, ask your advisors about protection in the event of a security breach.
Set Social Limits
Weigh and consider sharing personal information on social media as it could increase vulnerability. The more hackers know about you, the easier it is for them to build data profiles with your information.
Need help navigating the web?
Cybersecurity for Small Businesses
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) partnered with the NAIC to create a number of new resources to help educate entrepreneurs and protect small businesses. You have a business to run and don't need to become a cybersecurity expert, but their webinars and information on cyber-related topics can help.