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Protect yourself and your business from cyber attacks

The internet is a goldmine of unfettered information, sourced around the world. But with that information also comes a level of anonymity, which can often leave us vulnerable to cybercrime.

Whether running a business from home, working remotely from a home office, or surfing the web in our personal time, it only takes one fatal click to become exposed to online criminals. Before you know it, your computer’s security tools can be rendered useless, your data exposed, and your bank accounts compromised.

“It’s more important than ever to educate ourselves and be more careful when online,” says Christina Martin, SVP and Chief Diversity Officer of KRGinsure. “We all need to recognize that we all are targets. Hackers don’t spare anyone.”

We’ve become so comfortable in our digital lives that we seldom take a step back and analyse how easily we can be targeted, she says. Instead, people may feel lulled by a false sense of security.

Studies show that 57-percent of people who have already been scammed in phishing attacks haven’t even changed their passwords.

In addition to phishing scams, ransomware attacks also occur daily, threatening organizations in every industry.

“These attacks impact every area of business, including permanent data loss, intellectual property theft, privacy breaches, reputational damage, and expensive recovery costs,” says Christina.

Guard against loss
While no individual or corporation is immune to cyber threats, having the right cyber insurance is a great place to start, offering a line of defence and greater peace of mind.

The team at KRGinsure Orillia is no stranger to cyber security. KRGinsure Orillia’s manager, Alison Jones, and her team can look over your current policy to ensure you’re getting the right coverage for the right price. Beginning with a risk assessment, the KRGinsure team will help you determine the range of exposure and handcraft a policy to meet your business’s requirements.

“We’re always here to answer questions or give you a quote,” says Alison.

Home or tenant policies don’t automatically cover identity theft or personal cyber attacks, so it’s important to review your policies and take cautionary steps that can help mitigate losses.

Risk management
A breach analysis done as part of a United Kingdom National Cyber Security Centre study shows that 23.2 million victim accounts worldwide used “123456” as a password. Cyber security experts advocate for stronger password management.

A good solution is to get creative, says Alison.

Come up with passwords mixing characters and numbers, use a different password for multiple accounts, don’t share passwords, and do not leave them lying around your desk written on notepads. Lock your device anytime you leave it unattended, no matter how short a duration of time.

When shopping online, use a dedicated credit card with a low limit, says Alison. “This is something I do myself,” she adds. “It’s to protect yourself from theft.”

It’s a good idea to keep an eye on your account activity, says Alison. “It might be good practice to save receipts until you’ve received your credit card statement. That way, if you see something unfamiliar, you will have evidence to back up your suspicions of theft when you call up your bank.”

Tech scams
If you run a home-based business, you may be a target of tech-related scams, as outlined by the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre. These are called Tech Support Scams, which begin with a call or a pop-up on your screen. Scammers will pretend they’re employees of well-known software companies and will request remote access to your device. The “expert technician” will then pretend to run a diagnostic test on your machine, gaining access to information stored on your computer.

In such cases, Christina says, the scammer may also ask you to provide personal information so a bill can be sent your way after a fake anti-virus or other protective software has been installed on your computer.

“Never give out your credit card number or your bank information to anyone over the phone or email,” she says. Take the same approach if you receive a call from a company you already do business with, adds Christina. “Hang up and go through your records, then call the company directly to verify the information.”

If you work remotely using a company laptop, Christina says, it might be a good idea to inquire with the company if their cyber insurance policy provides coverage in that situation.

Putting cyber security first
Be conscientious of what you plug into your computer, Alison says. External storage devices can carry malware, which can be transferred to your machine if not vetted properly. Take the same precautions for your smartphones and tablets.

It’s a good idea to back up your data regularly, but she says, “If you carry sensitive information on a flash drive, it may be best to avoid plugging it into strange or public computers.”

Using common sense and being vigilant can help prevent many cyber attacks, but anyone can still get caught. If you do, it’s good to know that you have the right insurance in place to help set things right.



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