One of the newest forms of protection you can purchase for yourself and/or your business is cyber insurance — a type of coverage that protects business owners and self-employed individuals from a unique and ever-growing set of online threats. Cyber attacks are constant threats for everyone online, and we all have to be extremely cautious in order to not place ourselves – and our workplaces – at risk.
The numbers are astonishing. According to the Varonis.com article “60 Must-Know Cybersecurity Statistics for 2019,” the amount and severity level of cyber attacks keeps going up, with most incidences occurring on the job. Just a few of the frightening statistics Varonis provides are:
- In 2017, there were more than 130 large-scale, targeted breaches in the U.S., and the number is increasing by 27% each year. That means that in 2019 there will be approximately 210 breaches.
- Two major attacks in 2016 saw the information of 3 billion Yahoo accounts and 57 million Uber account-holders stolen.
- 31% of organizations have experienced a hacking attack.
- Mobile apps are terrible offenders, with more than 24,000 malevolent applications being shut down each and every day.
- It costs a company about $2.4 million U.S. to recover from a cyber attack. The most expensive aspect is usually the recovering of documents and information.
What Is Cyber Insurance?
Cyber insurance is specifically designed to protect organizations and businesses from financial losses resulting from online criminal activity. Cyber insurance is also known as CPM, an acronym for the three essential levels of protection it offers – “cyber, privacy, media” – the three spheres in which these policies work to protect you.
Cyber insurance policies can be configured to cover you for losses and liability resulting from:
- Privacy breaches (first-party and third-party)
- Computer hacking
- Identity theft
- Phishing scams
- Internet extortion
- Breaches of cyber security
- Distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks
Cyber insurance coverage can also be configured to protect you from infringement claims related to intellectual property, as well as provide financial safeguards for sensitive data and information stored in computing clouds. You can also opt in for protections that cover the cost of investigations, errors and omissions, breaches of regulatory and compliance policies, court costs, and the costs associated with crisis communications.
Nine Ways to Stay Safe Online
Here are a few tips to help avoid a cyber attack.
- Keep all of your computers and software up to date. If there is a notification (from a trusted course) to upgrade to a new operating system or version of software, make sure you do it as soon as possible. Computer companies are constantly sending out patches to backfill areas of vulnerability in their products, and it’s up to you to keep up.
- We all have dozens of different accounts we need to sign in to, but don’t take the easy way out and reuse the same sign in and password for each. If someone manages to get into one of your accounts, they will then be able to get into all of them. Effective passwords should be long, so a phrase is often a good idea. Try something like, “I love New York,” to start. Then replace some of the letters with numbers, for example, “1 lov3 New Yor4.” To be extra careful, add in a special character somewhere, such as, “1 lov3 New Yor4!” If the account provider doesn’t allow for spaces, replace them with a special character such as a hashtag.
A great tool we highly recommend is a password manager, which generates difficult to crack passwords for you. All you have to do is remember your master password. KeePass2 is a very good option, and is free to download.
- Enable two-factor authentication through account providers who offer it (like Google, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram). This will require you to enter your password as usual, and then you will be asked for a second authentication key. Sometimes it’s a code, or a fingerprint, or to respond to a prompt. You will only need to use two-factor authentication when logging on to a new device, not for devices you use regularly.
- Try not to use unsecured networks ever, but if you have to, do not sign in to any accounts that hold private information you would not like shared, such as banking websites, social media accounts, and your email. Hackers love public Wi-Fi networks, as they are often not monitored.
- Don’t fall for phishing scams. These are when an email (or phone call) appears to come from a trusted source, but clicking on a link or opening a document will result in malware being downloaded on to your computer. Check closely where unexpected emails are coming from. Often hackers will use an email address that looks familiar, but there will be a spelling error or slight difference to let you know the message is not legitimate. Hover over links, too, to ensure they are going where they say they are going. If you are still unsure, phone the purported sender directly to ask if they did, indeed, send you a message.
- Be suspicious. If you are ever contacted by phone, email or text by an individual or organization asking for information that they should already know (good examples are a fake Canada Revenue Agency asking for your social insurance number, or your “bank” asking for your account number), just delete the email or text. If they really need to get a hold of you, they will.
- Do not pick up and plug in found “lost” USB keys or flash drives. It’s tempting to try to find out what’s on them, but a newer scam is to load these drives with malware that attacks your computer the second you plug it in.
- Lock your screens and secure your devices when they are not in use. You may trust your fellow employees will not to attempt to access your information when you head to get coffee, but even if they don’t touch your computer, you never know what they might see on your monitor. And then share with someone who is less well-intentioned. Plus, shutting computers down at night is a simple way to keep your network more secure, as well as save on your energy bills.
- Back up your data. Although not a security tip per se, backing up your data on an external drive or in a cloud will ensure you still have all your work should something unfortunate happen.
Protect Yourself with the Help of Lane’s Insurance
If you’re doing business in the digital age, you should consider cyber insurance to be one of the fundamental and essential forms of protection on the market.
The caring, knowledgeable insurance brokers at Lane’s Insurance are here to help protect you and your business or organization from cyber criminals. If you have questions about cyber insurance, contact us at our Calgary, Edmonton, Banff or greater Alberta offices to see what we can do for you.