October is Cyber Security Awareness Month – Are you staying covered from cyber threats?
This October, we celebrate National Cyber Security Awareness Month. Every day, more than 1 million people become victims of cybercrime. Cyber criminals look for the weak spots and then attack, no matter how large or small the organization.
According to the Identity Theft Resource Center, data breaches increased 40 percent in 2016, with a total of 1,093 reported breaches. This trend continued in 2017, with over 1,120 cases reported by October. Businesses, both large and small, are increasingly reliant on the internet for daily operations, creating attractive and, potentially, vulnerable targets for cyber criminals.
What are cyber-attacks?
Cyber-attacks include many types of attempted or successful breaches of computer security. These threats come in different forms, including phishing, viruses, Trojans, key logging, spyware and spam. Once hackers have gained access to the computer system, they can accomplish any of several malicious goals, typically stealing information or financial assets, corrupting data or causing operational disruption or shutdown.
Cyber-attacks can result directly from deliberate actions of hackers, or attacks can be unintentionally facilitated by employees—for example, if they click on a malicious link. According to historical claim data analyzed by Willis Towers Watson, 90 percent of all cyber claims stemmed from some type of employee error or behavior.
How can you help keep your company safe?
Cyber security should be a company-wide effort. Consider implementing the following suggestions at your organization:
- Install, use and regularly update anti-virus and anti-spyware software on all computers.
- Download and install software updates for your operating systems and applications as they become available.
- Change the manufacturer’s default passwords on all software.
- Use a firewall for your internet connection.
- Regularly make backup copies of important business data.
- Control who can physically access your computers and other network components.
- Secure any Wi-Fi networks.
- Require individual user accounts for each employee.
- Limit employee access to data and information, and limit authority for software installation.
- Monitor, log and analyze all attempted and successful attacks on systems and networks.
- Establish a mobile device policy and keep them updated with the most current software and anti-virus programs.
What can employees do to help stay protected?
- Use strong passwords, change them periodically and never share them with anyone. Never repeat a password across accounts.
- Protect private information by not disclosing it unless necessary, and always verify the source if asked to input sensitive data for a website or email.
- Don’t open suspicious links and emails; an indication that the site is safe is if the URL begins with https://.
- Scan all external devices, such as USB flash drives, for viruses and malicious software (malware) before using the device.
A data breach could cripple your business, costing you thousands or millions of dollars in lost revenue, sales, damages and reputation. Contact Shepherd Insurance today. We have the tools necessary to help ensure you have the proper coverage to help protect your company against losses from cyber-attacks.