Nowadays, cyber scams are not uncommon. In fact, every single day, con artists are searching for their next victim. Worse yet, even if you think you’re not worth being targeted by online predators, you need to think again.
Hackers actually don’t even need to know how much is in your bank account to want to hack their way into it. Your financial data, your identity, what is in your email, it is all valuable information to a hacker. Hackers will do anything possible to get anyone they possibly can. In fact, they are absolutely counting on you thinking that you’re not a viable target.
The insurance industry, in particular, has recently been deemed the sector most susceptible to such breaches. Black Kite’s recent ‘Cyber Insurance Risk in 2022’ report has further emphasised the extent of cyberthreat to the sector. The report highlighted how 82% of the largest insurance carriers are considered the primary focus of ransomware attacks from cyber criminals, with 20% of the top 99 insurance firms holding the highest rate of vulnerability. These figures aren’t to be taken lightly, as in the last year alone, the rate of hacks has risen by 300%.
The ability for hackers to access an extensive wealth of data, if successful, has driven the rise in cybercrime amongst the industry to an all-time high. It is also this exact reason that propels unfortunate firms who have fallen subject to these attacks to agree to pay a large ransom in return for their valuable data; to avoid the extensive knock-on effects if they refuse. On average, hackers demand ransoms of $130,000 to insurance firms, however the largest paid by an insurance company was an outstanding $40 million. A figure the rest of the industry certainly would like to avoid!
So, how exactly can you protect yourself from cyberattacks?
How You Can Protect Yourself and Your Business from Cyberattacks?
Knowing how to avoid a cyberattack can change your life. Even if you don’t think you are a viable target, you are still unsafe.
1. Think Before You Click
At least once, you will be sent an odd link that makes you feel uneasy. It looks like something you’ve seen before but asks you to enter or change your password. Perhaps it even asks you for some personal information in order to verify your identity.
It could be a text message or email from someone pretending to be your boss, email service, a friend, or your bank. The message may contain something along the lines of needing your information because you have been a victim of cybercrime. However, this is actually where you put yourself in danger.
It is likely a scheme that looks legitimate. However, look for grammar issues, spelling issues, and other inconsistencies. If you are truly worried, directly contact the person or organisation it is said to have come from in order to understand whether or not it is a scam.
Trust your instinct when it comes to these links and think before you click.
2. Use Strong Passwords
Did you know that the most common password in the world is literally the word “password” followed by the numbers “123456”? Disappointing, right? Well, using your child’s name and birth date really isn’t much better.
Picking a simple password is like locking your door to be safe and then hanging the key on the doorknob. In simpler terms, anyone can get in. Here are some of the best tips to learn when it comes to creating a strong password:
- Try to make your password long. 15 characters is great.
- Make your password as unique as possible.
- Consider using a randomly generated password from a computer or password manager.
You should also ensure that you’re not recycling the same passwords over and over. You should consider using a password manager to store your passwords in a safe manner. This way, you don’t have to remember all of them.
3. Update Your Software
A basic way for you to protect yourself from cyberattacks is to simply update your software. This applies to all of the programs you use. Software and technology companies are always working to add security protocols to their product, but these are ineffective unless you’re constantly updating your tools and apps.
The key to safety is to stay on top of these tools and apps and update them as soon as you can.
The Effects of Cyberattacks
Being attacked by a cybercriminal is bad enough in itself, however the knock-on effects are far reaching for all stakeholders involved. From businesses, customers, employees and personal repercussions, the extent of control hackers have and the power they hold once successful is drastic.
1. Economic Costs
Cyberattacks often result in a massive economic cost arising from:
- Loss of business or contract
- Theft of corporation information
- Disruption to trading
- Theft of financial information
- Theft of money
- Claim settlements
When it comes to dealing with breaches, businesses even incur costs associated with repairing affected networks, systems, and devices.
2. Reputational Damage
Trust is a massive part of a business-customer relationship. Cyberattacks often damage your business’ reputation, especially in the case of the theft of valuable or sensitive customer data entrusted to your business to keep safe. The leakage of personal information is every person’s worse fear, so this leads to a loss of sales, loss of customers, and a reduction in profits, as customers leave to find a safer competitor.
Moreover, as a result of customer data breaches, companies often have to fork out millions in order to settle claims from offended customers. Onboarding new customers therefore becomes problematic, as news spreads fast and trust and reputation are hard to build back up again.
3. Legal Consequences
Privacy and data protection laws require you to manage the security of all personal data you are in possession of. This applies to both staff and customers. If this data is compromised through theft, fraud, defamation or mischief, you may face fines and sanctions.
Cyber-attacks also beg the question of; who is responsible? People are always looking to pass the blame to someone else, and although direct responsibility falls onto the cybercriminals themselves, having more robust systems in place to counteract these attacks in the first place is the first line of prevention. However, in the aftermath of a cyber incident, notoriously the organisation as a whole will take the hit, as the Business Judgement Rule makes it hard to pinpoint any one individual who is personally liable for the data breach.
4. Psychological Pain
Victims of cybercrimes can often experience ‘cyber trauma’ as a result of infringement of privacy from these attacks. The developments of PTSD and other emotional traumas may arise where attacks have used, shared or impersonated personal data.
To conclude, no one wants to fall victim to a cybercriminal, and although you may think you have all the protocols in place to battle these vicious offenders, regularly updating your security systems is the only way to heighten the safety of your businesses data. With the impending threat of hackers mounting, there is no time for error when it comes to protecting your business, customers and employees. It’s time to think Faster, Smarter and Safer.