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Personal Cyber Security and 8 Tips to Help You Protect Yourself Agains Cybercrime

By October 1, 2020October 4th, 2020Personal Insurance
8 ways to protect yourself against cybercrime

Cybercrime continues to be a big problem, and cybercriminals are increasingly targeting individuals. Since October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month, take a moment to review the cybersecurity that you have in place on your devices!

First things first: Understand that your devices are at risk.

Any device connected to the internet has the potential to be hacked. Cyberattacks can:

  • Target mobile phones, computers, gaming systems, and other devices.
  • Block your access to personal files, documents and photos (and also delete them.)
  • Result in someone stealing your identity.

There are ways to protect yourself.

Here are some helpful tips:

1. Use a reputable, full-service internet security provider.
Choose one that provides a comprehensive computer security package (a “security suite”) that includes a firewall, antivirus, anti-spyware and anti-spam protection.

2. Keep your software up to date.
Never put off installing the latest updates on your PC, and electronic devices.

3. Practice effective password security.
Passwords continue to be one of the most vulnerable cyber defenses.

Take these precautions:

  • Passwords should be 12 or more characters long, and contain a mix of upper and lowercase letters, numbers and special characters.
  • Avoid using easily guessable phrases like “123456”, “abc123” or “Welcome.”
  • Don’t use passwords containing personal info that can be publicly available (family names and birth dates, pet names, favorite sports team, hobby, etc.)
  • Don’t leave passwords out in the open and never share them with anyone.
  • Change your passwords regularly and don’t reuse them.
  • Create a unique separate password for each account.
  • Consider a password manager (to store your passwords in one location with one master password.)

4. Back up your data regularly.
Regular data backups are vital in helping minimize the impact if your data is lost, stolen, corrupted or compromised in any other way. Use a cloud or an internet security provider that offers data backup services.

5. Don’t fall victim to phishing.
Phishing attacks are the practice of sending fraudulent communications that appear to come from a legitimate source. Usually done through an email, phishing can also be in the form of a text or a letter that will appear legitimate.

The attacker attempts to obtain your sensitive information (like login ID and password or credit card and bank account information) by asking you to verify or update your information. Malicious software (Malware) like viruses and ransomware can also be downloaded onto your computer after opening an email, clicking on a link or opening an attachment.

Take these precautions:

  • Never provide personal information in an email, text or to someone who called you.
  • Never open attachments or click on links from someone you don’t know.
  • Make sure that HTTPS appears in the URL (it’s a secure version of HTTP.)
  • Flag and report suspicious emails.
  • Don’t store personal information (passwords, account numbers, etc.) on your mobile devices.

6. Exercise caution when using public Wi-Fi.
A mobile device is only as secure as the network through which it transmits data. The fact is that public Wi-Fi networks are often not as secure as we think.

Take these precautions:

  • Never use public Wi-Fi to shop online, log in to bank accounts, or other sites.
  • Only visit websites with HTTPS encryption (vs HTTP) when on public Wi-Fi.
  • Turn off the automatic Wi-Fi connectivity feature on your phone, so it won’t automatically seek out hotspots.

7. Turn your computer off.
Turning your computer off effectively severs an attacker’s connection.

8. Protect yourself with personal cybercrime insurance.
Increasingly, more insurance companies are offering personal cybercrime insurance. Events typically covered include cyber attacks, cyber extortion and data restoration. Some homeowners insurance plans may provide a level of cybercrime coverage. Talk to Arbor Insurance Group about protecting yourself with a policy based on your needs!

Arbor Insurance Group provides cyber insurance, homeowners insurance, auto insurance, and other personal and business insurance products throughout the Lehigh Valley, including Allentown, Bethlehem, Easton, Emmaus, Macungie and surrounding areas.

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