Cyber Threats

cyber security


Data threats come in many sizes and shapes and no one is immune.  Just this month, it was announced that Orbitz, a subsidiary of online travel agency Expedia had been hacked and that personal information from about 880,000 payment cards was stolen.

We can’t cut ourselves off entirely from the Internet nor can we just assume there’s nothing we can do to protect our digital privacy and security for ourselves, our families, and our businesses.   The fact is, we can take steps to minimize the threats and still enjoy the freedom and convenience the digital world can provide.

The first step is to understand the threats in all their forms.  In this blog, we want to give individuals and families some easy-to-follow tips to mitigate these threats, which include phishing, described below, pharming(a malicious code that directs the user to a fake website), baiting(e.g., a free download in exchange for personal information) and pretexting involving s a scenario that persuades someone to give their personal information.

Are You Password Protected?

It’s a pain, but stop using simple passwords or using the same password for multiple accounts. Never use a word that’s related to you. Select random words or letters (a combination of lowercase and uppercase) and intersperse it with numbers and symbols.  Never share your passwords – with anyone.

Know What You’re Opening

When you receive an email from someone or some company you don’t know, pay attention before opening it. Malicious emails are called phishing scams that ask you to open up links and files that can infect and corrupt your computer systems.  Also, be suspicious if the email does not address you by name.  Beware of any links embedded in the email or features a long and complicated URL – it may be a phishing email.  Avoid the hyperbolic  “urgent and requires immediate attention.”   Above all, do not download ZIP files and attachments or click through to links unless they are from a trusted party and you have checked it out first.

 Stay Up-To-Date

It may seem obvious but keep all your operating systems up to date.   Install the updates from the platforms you use such as Microsoft, Mac and Linux.  They improve functionality but also will provide the latest security fixes.

You’re Covered

Many homeowners’ insurance policies can include identity-theft coverage, which typically includes access to credit monitoring and a case manager in case of an incident. Insurers add and refine new coverages and we’re happy to discuss your options.