There’s no doubt people spend A LOT of time on the Internet. Hence the need for an annual Data Privacy Day! The Digital 2019 Report reveals that the average Internet user spends more than a quarter of their life on the World Wide Web. Also, consumers are online an average of 6 hours and 42 minutes each day, whereas mobile devices continue to be a popular mode for connecting to the digital world [1]. Society relies on these gadgets for so many different things (like I rely on my smartphone’s GPS to get me everywhere), and since we’re constantly connected, there’s a continuous and growing concern for cybercrime and maintaining online safety.

 

In 2020, forecasts suggest there will be approximately 6.58 network-connected devices per person around the globe. With a total world population of over 7.5 billion people, this means there could be nearly 50 billion network-connected devices in use this year [2]. You might be (unknowingly) allowing thieves to spy on you through your electronic devices right now because many come with privacy insecurities, making it easy for a hacker or thief to get in and get your personal data. There are viruses and programs thieves can create to steal the information you enter into your devices. We have to be smarter and safer about our data privacy than ever!

While it can be scary to think about, we shouldn’t live in fear of hackers and identity thieves. Here are seven ways to fight back and keep your personal data safe and secure online:

  1. Always use a strong password with at least eight characters. Be sure to use a combination of lower and upper case letters, numbers, and at least one symbol.
  2. Never save passwords in your web browser.
  3. Use trusted antivirus software on your computers, such as McAfee or Avast.
  4. Never enter personal data into a website that is insecure or looks unprofessional. A secure website’s URL should begin with “https” as opposed to “http”. The “s” at the end stands for “secure” and uses an SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) connection.
  5. Disable your webcam when it’s not in use.
  6. When using social media or other communication apps like Skype or FaceTime, only accept friend requests from people who you know and trust.
  7. Identity thieves love your credit cards so keep that information private and do not share it, especially when you are using an ATM or entering your card number online. Also, just like your passwords, never save your credit card online.

For additional protection, consider cyber protection insurance. This coverage protects against things like unwanted attacks, extortion threats, online fraud, and more. The coverage may have a very broad definition of “connected home device” and contemplates items such as smartphones, thermostats, entertainment systems, appliances, and home security monitoring systems.

For example, Central’s Personal Cyber Protection Coverage endorsement provides the type of coverage you might expect from a first-party cyber liability endorsement: data recovery and restoration, cyber extortion, financial loss due to online fraud, and breach of personal data. However, it also takes things a step further and covers psychiatric counseling services, legal expenses, temporary relocation expenses, and additional expenses related to cyberbullying attacks. This is a terrific feature to include, especially given how serious cyberbullying threats have become.

Take precautions to ensure your peace of mind online. Contact your local independent agent to learn more about protecting yourself from the threat of cyber thieves!

Sources:

[1] https://www.digitalinformationworld.com/2019/02/internet-users-spend-more-than-a-quarter-of-their-lives-online.html

[2] https://www.statista.com/statistics/678739/forecast-on-connected-devices-per-person/

The information above is of a general nature and your policy and coverages provided may differ from the examples provided. Please read your policy in its entirety to determine your actual coverage available.

Copyright © 2020 Central Mutual Insurance Company. All rights reserved.

Posted 11:43 AM

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