In recent months, we’ve seen a large number of headlines about cyber attacks. From May’s WannaCry attacks to data breaches affecting large companies like Wells Fargo, Yahoo, and Target, cyber crime is everywhere. It’s not just a problem affecting large, wealthy companies either: Symanetc’s 2016 Internet Security Threat Report revealed that 43 percent of phishing campaigns target small businesses, and while 1 in 2 large businesses are targeted each year, 1 in 40 small businesses are at risk of being victim to a cyber crime. Though 1 in 40 is comparatively smaller than 1 in 2, that is still a significant threat for small businesses, which may not be as well-prepared as large businesses. In addition to protecting your operation with a Cyber Liability policy, be sure you and your team understand these three prominent threats and how you can best prepare for them.
Data Breaches and Network Attacks
As we saw in May’s WannaCry attack, some cyber attacks aim to disrupt or completely dismantle systems, while others aim to steal confidential data. Depending on what you have in your network or what industry you work in, this could be devastating. WannaCry affected a large number of National Health Service hospitals’ machinery and left them unable to resume normal operations. Alternatively, consider what sort of personal information you have stored on your computer. You could have credit card numbers, bank account information, routing numbers, Social Security numbers, and other personal information, and certain businesses – such as community associations, hospitals, and real estate agencies – could have that information from hundreds if not thousands of people.
With how prominent data-driven devices are in both the business world and day-to-day life, you need to consider your exposures. One first line of defense is your passwords. Do you use the same password across the board? Is it a secure password, or is it one that could easily be guessed? Try to vary up your passwords and create more secure ones with a mixture of letters, numbers, and symbols. In addition, make sure your network is secure, and regularly inspect it for possible exposures.
In a phishing scheme, cyber criminals use a bait-and-switch method to trick you into giving out personal information, whether it is through sending an e-mail that appears to be from a trusted source or sending a link to a duplicate of a reputable site that really aims to collect your data.
A little common sense can go a long way in avoiding falling victim to phishing schemes. Evaluate e-mails carefully, and do not click on any links or attachments that you have doubts about. If you do fall victim to one and provide your information, immediately change any passwords you have given away and contact groups like your bank to let them know that your data has been compromised.
Malware can be obtained through targeted e-mails or through simple unlucky web browsing, and it can be devastating to a business. Malware is an umbrella term for a range of cyber threats such as computer viruses, Trojans, and worms, and malware intends to either destroy your computer or take your information. It is most commonly introduced to a system through e-mail attachments or software downloads, whether it is through a fake e-mail (which can mimic the appearance of a trustworthy source) or a link.
Much like with the previous two threats, malware can be largely avoided through vigilant software updates and smart web use. Make sure your computer is completely up-to-date (for example, Inc. notes that something as simple as failing to update Java can leave you vulnerable), and, much like in the event of phishing e-mails, be wary about e-mail attachments. If anything looks suspicious, don’t be afraid to contact the sender and ask if the e-mail is legitimate.
About Axis Insurance Services
At Axis Insurance Services, we aim to help our customers identify their exposures and protect themselves. Founded in 1999, we offer insurance programs to a wide variety of professionals and industries including attorneys, real estate, healthcare, architects, and more, and also have a wholesale division. We pride ourselves on offering flexible insurance coverage tailored specifically to each customer’s needs. To learn more about our solutions, contact us at (201) 847-9175 to speak with one of our professionals.