Cyber risk is increasing rapidly for everyone – and not just for business and organizations. As consumers in this digital age, we open doorways to cyberattacks at every online or in-store credit card purchase with more of our personal information tying to corporate retail data. As smart home technology expands, we become more susceptible to attacks with every computerized refrigerator and Amazon Echo we install.
But we don’t need to sit around waiting to become victims. We can minimize our cyber risk and take matters into our own hands.
- Freeze your credit. If you are not using your credit any time in the near future, you can freeze it temporarily. Should you need to unfreeze it – which takes one to two weeks – for a purchase, you can freeze it back up again. This is especially important for high net worth individuals who make attractive targets for a cyberattack.
- Set one day a week to monitor your credit card statements. Carefully review your credit card statements once a week to rule out anything that stands out as being questionable or suspect.
- Be selective about the devices you purchase. When it comes to digital or smart home devices, you are probably better off with recognized brands with institutional power behind them and the wherewithal to stand by their product. When purchasing, look for devices with antivirus and malware software.
- Keep your private information private. Take extra precaution in giving information to unsolicited callers. When searching new websites, make sure there is a closed lock symbol at the bottom right of the screen to ensure its security. Web addresses that begin with “https” are generally secure, and if you click on the lock symbol on the bottom right, it will display the same “https” address.
- Don’t make it easy for the hackers. Make sure you maintain your smart home and digital devices once they have been installed. Don’t ignore upgrades when you are prompted because they sometimes include security augmentations. When using public Wi-Fi, use a virtual private network (VPN) to protect yourself from malignant and unencrypted signals.
- Passwords, passwords, passwords. One of the easiest ways to protect yourself is to change your passwords routinely. Keeping them sophisticated, using a series of complex letters, numbers, and symbols, and having different passwords on multiple devices, is crucial in preserving an all-important layer of security. Stay away from integrating your address, birthday, or Social Security number when creating passwords. You can also double up when possible with two-factor authentications, utilizing both fingerprint and password or ID and pin number.
- Be reasonable. Technology has become more and more integrated in every facet of our lives. It is probably a good idea to step back and ask yourself: does this device provide enough value that I’m willing to give up some privacy?
While none of these measures make you bulletproof from cyberattacks, they certainly force hackers to raise their level of effort to get to you, making you far less vulnerable.
For any questions regarding your own cyber risk or to learn more about how cyber liability insurance can protect you and your loved ones, contact us at 845-986-1177. We are your business, home, auto, and life insurance solutions provider, partner, and adviser, serving Warwick, Greenwood Lake, Florida, Goshen, Pine Island, Middletown, Chester, Monroe, Newburgh, Orange County, and the Hudson Valley and Tri-State Area.