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New Year's Resolutions For Cyber Safety

happy new year computerDo you seem to make the same New Year’s resolutions every year?  Do they usually relate to changing personal habits like getting organized, losing those extra pounds or improving your fitness?  Perhaps this year it is time to focus instead on your relationship with technology and developing habits to keep yourself safer from cyber crime.   

You might think that becoming cyber-safe is only important for business, but it is critical as well for anyone who uses a phone, computer or any other device connected to the Internet. That includes the many “smart devices” incorporated into your vehicle, your television and even your kitchen appliances. Hackers are becoming more sophisticated, and each of us must do what we can to stay one step ahead.

Click READ MORE below for five New Year’s resolutions to keep you from falling victim to cyber-attacks in 2018:

 

Beware of a “phishing attack”—  Take the time to scrutinize every incoming email, text and instant message carefully. Consider the source of the message, and never open an attachment or click on a link that you did not expect to receive. To do so is to invite hackers into the contents of your device. If you’re a business owner, train your staff to follow the same habits and perhaps even consider hiring an external firm to assess the need for cyber security training for your company. 

Manage your passwords – Gone are the days when you might safely use the same password for all accounts and devices. Doing so only makes the job of the cybercriminal easy. To protect yourself, use complex passwords with symbols, numbers and letters. Create unique passwords for each online account, and change them regularly. If tracking many passwords is daunting, try using a password safe – a small script that runs on your local device and in which you store your passwords and access it by a single unique PIN (just google “password safe”).

Always update your software— Updating software and web-browsers as new versions become available is critical to harden your devices against cyber attacks. These updates are usually provided because software vendors have determined that their code could be vulnerable to a new hacker technique. it is vitally important to use them as soon as you receive them since they offer protection against viruses and malware that have been recently identified. Don’t forget to do updates for all devices, not just your computer; and don’t forget your smart appliances as well.

Protect your devices from theft — Make it a habit to shut down and secure your smart phone, computers, tablets, and any other devices when you are away from them. Some devices no longer use passwords at all, but employ thumbprint access, facial recognition or other more sophisticated protection.  At a minimum, lock each device and require password access. Consider enabling controls like “Find My Phone” and remote wiping so that your device  can be tracked and shut off remotely in case it is stolen or lost.

Be a savvy social media user – Social media has become a way of life for many people, but cyber criminals are lurking and ready to jump in if you become vulnerable. To avoid that, harden your settings to disable shared connections, restrict geo-tags, limit exposure via privacy controls and put a check on app permissions. Finally, be aware of what you post and don’t provide too many details about your offline whereabouts and activities that could be used by criminals.

Homeowners Insurance Tip

When you think cyber-attacks, think also identity theft which can be difficult and time-consuming to recover from. Many insurance companies offer identity recovery options that may be added to your current insurance policy. Check with your insurance agent to see if your homeowners insurance policy includes identity recovery benefits and to find out what sort of coverage is available.

Here at our Laurel, MD agency, our highly experienced Community Insurance Services of Maryland agents are always glad to speak with you about any insurance needs. Why not contact us to be sure you have optimum Identity Recovery insurance coverage before you ever need it. Get a no-obligation policy review or discuss your options.

Sunday, 07 January 2018 18:48

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