have become dependent on the convenience of having our financial accounts,
healthcare information and personal profiles just a click or two away. Whether
you use a desktop, laptop, tablet or a smartphone to access the internet, this
convenience comes with a responsibility to be vigilant about basic
cybersecurity. The NAIC offers the following tips to help keep your identity
safe and your business secure.
Security Starts at Home
Your Wi-Fi router is the
first line of defense for your home's internet network. To make sure no one is
accessing your Wi-Fi, you should occasionally change the router's administrator
login, enable encryption and change default passwords. If you want to share
your Wi-Fi with guests, you can do that safely by providing them with guest
Viruses and malware are
a constant threat. Investing in antivirus and anti-malware software is a
necessary expense to protect your identity and personal information.
such as your social security number, confidential business, bank information,
medical records and tax returns should never be sent over email or other
communication channels without encryption.
Be Aware of Your
Whether you are sitting
in a coffee shop, a shared workspace or on public transportation for your daily
commute, keep in mind there are individuals who may be listening to your
conversations or are able to see your screens. Do not read your credit card
number or discuss your bank account or other personal information in a public
Cyber thieves have
created information-skimming devices that are attached to ATMs, gas pumps and
other point-of-sale devices. Once you enter your PIN, thieves have access to
everything they need to clean out your bank account. Watch out for any
card-swiping devices that look suspicious.
Along with the
convenience of our online lifestyle comes the need for an endless number of
passwords. Security experts suggest you memorize the most important ones and
write the rest down, keeping them in a safe place. Keep this data secure, and
do not keep your account numbers and passwords in the same place. If you keep a
list of passwords on your phone, laptop or in the cloud, avoid naming that file
passwords with a combination of upper and lowercase letters, numbers and
symbols. Two-factor authentication offers an extra layer of security by
requiring a password, a username, as well as something only the user has access
to when logging in. This might include a specific piece of information only
they should know or a physical token, a fingerprint or facial recognition.
Two-factor authentication can be added to your social media accounts, mobile
phones, email and bank accounts.
Think Before you Click
If you see an email from
an address you do not recognize, proceed with caution and never click on
attachments or links in emails that seem suspicious. With one click, you could
infect your computer with viruses or malware that may not be detected for
months. In the meantime, your data has been compromised and you may have invited
an identity thief into your system.
Hackers use fake web
addresses (URLs) that seem completely normal to break into systems. One way to
stay safe online is to look for spelling or grammatical errors in domain names
and email addresses.
Securing a Small Business
About half of all small
businesses experience a cyberattack because they generally have a moderate
amount of data and minimal cybersecurity.
Small businesses should
secure their Wi-Fi networks, train employees on cyber security and consider
using third-party security companies to protect their data. Cyber liability
insurance can help a small business survive cyber attacks by paying for
customer notification, credit monitoring, legal fees and fines after a data
The Federal Deposit
Insurance Corporation (FDIC) also hosts a wealth of information on cybersecurity. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC)
has an identity
theft website to report incidents and develop a recovery plan
after a cybersecurity attack.