With the continued rise of cloud computing and society’s increasing dependence on digital technologies, it should come as no surprise that phishing and malware attacks continue to be a major problem. These types of cyber attacks are used to target both individuals and businesses, compromising personal data and leading to a long list of potentially serious consequences. Identity theft may be the best-known example of what can happen, but other disastrous results can occur, including frightening things like ransomware.
Insurance companies now offer policies that are specifically designed to protect individuals and businesses from digital threats. While your Calgary home insurance may provide some help if you are victimized, it is better for businesses to carry additional cyber insurance. This is true even if you run a small, home-based business, as cyber insurance offers enhanced protection against modern threats.
Safeguard Your Personal Information
Your first line of defense should always be to exercise caution regarding your online activities. Be proactive about protecting your personal information and sensitive data. Here’s a run-down of some key tips that can help you avoid becoming the victim of a cyber criminal:
- Protect your social insurance number (SIN). Do not store it on your computer, and do not provide it to anyone unless you are legally obligated to do so.
- Only shop online with vendors and retailers that you trust. Choose reputable online retailers that use secure payment processing services.
- Avoid using unsecured wireless Internet networks as much as possible. If you must use one, do not engage in any online activity involving passwords, banking, or any other type of personal information.
- Always check your credit card statements and credit report for suspicious activity.
- Don’t open junk email, or messages from senders that you don’t recognize. Never click links that lead to unknown websites.
- Change your passwords often. Use secure passwords that include a combination of letters, numbers, and special characters.
Be Aware of the Changing Nature of Threats
Cyber threats are always changing, since Internet-based criminals need to use different techniques to stay a step ahead of law enforcement. One of the more frightening current trends is known as ransomware. It has been used to extort money from both public and private organizations and institutions. In Alberta, the University of Calgary was recently targeted in a high-profile ransomware case.
The Government of Canada recently published some surprising statistics regarding cyber crime:
- Every day, about 156,000,000 phishing emails are sent out
- About 8,000,000 of these are opened
- Unsuspecting users click on 800,000 malicious links
- Approximately 80,000 people share personal information with cyber criminals
Over 1,000,000 Canadians have been victimized. In the aftermath of the University of Calgary attack, the school published a helpful guide on how to avoid becoming a victim.
It’s an excellent resource, which you can find here.
Key points include:
- Do not accept technical assistance from anyone who makes unsolicited contact offering it
- Do not open suspicious emails or click suspicious links
- Never include personal details (bank account information, passwords, etc.) in an email, as message content can be intercepted
- If you suspect a reputable company is being impersonated by a cyber criminal, contact the company to ask whether they have attempted to contact you
How Do Criminals Get Your Personal Information, Anyway?
Understanding how criminals work can also help you avoid becoming a victim. Here are some common techniques scammers use to get their hands on your sensitive data and info:
- They pose as individuals or businesses you are familiar with and attempt to dupe you into providing personal details
- They use your own Internet presence against you, learning about your activity from social media posts and leveraging that information while posing as a trusted person or company
- Harvesting personal information collected from various aspects of your Internet presence, such as your address, phone number, email address, employer, etc.
- Tricking you into unknowingly installing malware on your own device, often by posing as someone you know and emailing you a link to a malicious website
Identity theft is also a common objective. You can avoid it with the help of this comprehensive guide.
Cyber Insurance Calgary: Coverage for the Modern World
Lane’s Insurance is a leading Alberta-based brokerage, providing complete insurance solutions for both homeowners and businesses. Lane’s works with the province’s most trusted carriers to protect you from today’s advanced digital threats, and much more.
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