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Is Your Guard UP?

ID TheftYou have E&O Insurance in place in the event you are sued for having rendered covered professional services.  However, doing business through the use of a computer has opened a whole new world of exposures to insurance agents.

If you haven’t been paying attention to the vast amount of articles regarding businesses whose computers and websites are getting hacked, you should.

Cybercrime is on the rise.  A recent survey revealed that ransomware isn’t only after big businesses, it’s targeting small businesses too.

Do you use a website for your insurance business?   Do you conduct business through your website?  What would you do if your website was frozen and a ransom was demanded before it would be operational again?  Some agents just pay the ransom so that productivity is not interrupted.  When it comes to small business and why it can be a favored target by hackers, the ransom amount being demanded is not that much.  Would you pay $300.00 if your site was locked?  Knowing that it would cost more in time and money to fix a compromised website, many small business owners pay the ransom and carry on.  Small businesses are good targets: insurance agents are good targets.

Do you use a lap top for your business?  What if it was lost or stolen?  Do you have protected personal information on that lap top for yourself and your clients?  The theft of such lap top, in many states, serves as a trigger to notify your clients that their data may have been compromised and to provide credit monitoring services for them.

Have you educated yourself on the ways that corruption can enter your personal computer and server through emails?  The words of wisdom that used to be imparted were “never open an email if you don’t know who sent it”.   Now, those busy hackers looking to corrupt systems have the ability to enter personal computers and jump to servers, destroying data, through the use of emails that appear to be 100% legitimate.

If you have staff, you really need to warn them about clicking on links in emails or opening attachments.  One sly form of entry used by a hacker is to attach a .pdf that shows ..pdf  -that extra dot signifies that you could be a target and once opened you’ve welcomed a big troublemaker into your system.

Should you receive an email with the ..pdf attachment, you need to call the sender, before clicking on that attachment to ask if it was a typographical error when they  named the document.  You may be surprised to find out that they’ll tell you their email was recently hacked and they sent no such email or attachment.

Question any interactive invoices that come in via email or any emails that have a sense of urgency to them.  You must be proactive and sharp because one click on a seemingly innocent link or attachment could become your worst nightmare.

Beware of deceptive transfer tactics.  Make sure if you are going to move money that you know exactly where it is going and don’t hesitate to make phone calls prior to doing so to confirm account numbers.

You are busy, your staff is staff busy.  Everyone appreciates that using computers makes life easier; however, now is the time to keep your eyes opened and your brain engaged.  Realize that you are a target.  Don’t be fooled into having a false sense of security by firewalls, virus protection, malware protection and the like. Remember to stay on top of all of your security updates as well.  Consider purchasing a Cyber Liability Protection Policy.  Make sure your guard is up and hope it never fails.

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