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  • Emily Kopp

Are you covered against cyber attacks and identity theft?

While technology has become a large asset and necessity in our everyday lives, it has also become one of our biggest threats. I’m not talking about robots taking over humanity, but the cyber threats that are floating around the internet and that we are subject to everyday. Cyber security attacks are not reserved just for the government or large companies but they are just as threatening to your personal devices. So how do we protect our devices from these potential cyber-attacks?

I recently had the pleasure of sitting down with a digital forensic investigator and I inquired about the basics of understanding what a cyber security attack is and how to protect your devices from cyber threats.

Q. What is a cyber security attack?

A: A cyber security attack is when someone breaks into your network and steals information. Primarily confidential information like your account passwords or saved payment information.

Q: How common are cyber security threats/attacks on personal computers/Laptops?

A: A famous quote in my line of work is “there’s two types of companies in the world, those who know they’ve been hacked and those who don’t” the same could be said for your personal computer in this day and age. Think back to all of the spam email you have received over the years, if you clicked on the wrong one, you could have easily been subject to a cyber security attack.

Q: How easy is it for a hacker to steal your information?

A: If you’re not protected, very easy. These people can steal your information in a matter of seconds if you’re on an unprotected network (i.e free wifi at a restaurant). If your information is not protected, it’s almost like it is public knowledge. Hackers can use this to target unsecure home networks and steal more information.

Q. Is my smart phone at risk of a cyber security attack?

A: Yes it is.

Q: Is it at a greater risk than my personal computer/laptop?

A: Obviously there are a lot of different factors that could play a part in this but if I had to make a generalization, I would say that your smartphone is less at risk than your personal laptop on an unprotected network.

Q. How can I protect my computer from a cyber security attack?

A: The best and easiest way to protect your information is to purchase a VPN (Virtual Private Network), install Virus Scanners, don’t use personal info while on public networks, don’t click unknown/suspicious links, don’t share passwords, use complex passwords, and use numerous passwords.

As more of us begin to work remotely in today’s circumstances, it is important that our cyber security protection is high on our priority list. For additional protection, contact your insurance agent to see what endorsements they can offer you to add to your policy. Your homeowner’s insurance policy may offer a “Cyber protection” endorsement that could provide coverage for computer system attacks, cyber extortion, and online fraud or data breaches. Just because you’re at home, doesn't mean you're immune to a potential cyber security attack. As the word around us changes, we must adjust with it to protect ourselves and our information.

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