When you hear, “cyber attack,” you likely think of data breaches at a large company or retailer, but do you ever consider that you could be personally attacked? From a surprise virus to a deliberate rental scam, to deeply hurtful cyber-bullying, the threats you and your family face in the connected world are real and not to be ignored.
What Does Personal Cyber Insurance Protect?
Personal Cyber Insurance can offer you and your family protection in five key areas:
- Cyber Attack Coverage
- Cyber Extortion Coverage
- Online Fraud Coverage
- Data Breach Coverage
We’ll elaborate more on just what each of those items means, but first, let’s take a minute to think about your potential exposure to cyber threats. What are the connected devices in your life? The computers and cell phones of you and your family are likely the items that come to mind, but did you think about your smart home elements, such as a security system, thermostat, or smart speaker? How about your children’s entertainment console, or new camera?
The ways that we are connected to the internet are rapidly increasing, and all of them provide opportunities for a cyber-attack to hit your home. Luckily, Personal Cyber Insurance policies were written with the expansion of the Internet of Things in mind, and coverage extends to most items on your home network that are owned or leased and operated by you or a member of your family.
Now, let’s see some examples of how this coverage could protect your connected home.
1. Cyber Attack
A cyber-attack is likely what you first thought of as being protected by Personal Cyber Insurance. If a computing device (desktop, laptop, tablet, etc.) or connected home device (smartphone, thermostat, security system) owned/leased and operated by your or your family is attacked by a virus, this portion of the policy will help you recover.
Example: You open an email that appears to be from your in-laws, but it turns out to be a virus. It causes significant damage to your home laptop, and you are forced to hire an expert to reformat your hard drive, reinstall your operating system, and restore essential data from a backup.
The Cyber Attack coverage would reimburse you for your incurred costs, minus your deductible.
2. Cyber Extortion
Cyber Extortion sounds like it would only occur in some sort of sci-fi thriller, but the fact is, ransomware viruses are actually the most popular type of malware. These viruses infect your computer and block you from accessing your data. To regain control, you must pay a fee, or you risk losing all the data (photos, documents, software) now encrypted on your computer. While this would send most people into a panic, insureds with Personal Cyber Insurance can calmly take action:
- Professional Assistance: Subject matter experts can guide you through the realities of the threat by phone and guide you in how best to respond. In some cases, they may recognize the specific attack and help you regain access to your file without ever making any payments.
- Reimbursement: If approved by the subject matter professional, the ransom paid would be reimbursed, minus the deductible.
Example: A message pops up on your laptop saying that all your files are now encrypted and will be destroyed in one week if $2,000 in bitcoin is not paid. Not wanting to risk losing all the photos from a recent family vacation, you call and discuss the issue with a subject matter specialist, who is able to advise you through the process to regain your data.
The Cyber Extortion coverage would reimburse you for the direct costs of the ransom paid, minus the deductible.
3. Online Fraud Coverage
Are you thinking that you’re too savvy to be a victim of online fraud?
Sure, you might know better than to send money to the prince of a foreign land emailing you for assistance (note that loss of funds due to participation in this type of scheme is specifically excluded from coverage. It is called an advanced fee fraud, and participation in any form is illegal.), but are you 100% certain that awesome vacation rental you’re about to book exists?
Online Fraud Coverage is there to help when online fraud results in a direct financial loss to you, as a policyholder. Some examples of online fraud include identity theft, the unauthorized use of financial information, or, “the intentional and criminal deception of an insured to part voluntarily with something of value,” says a Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace scheme.
Example: One frequent example of online fraud, called a Family Emergency Scam, uses an emotional tactic to cloud a victim’s judgment. Family members will receive urgent messages, such as texts or emails, that appear to be from another member of the family who desperately needs cash to resolve an emergency. These used to be called, “Grandparent Schemes,” but as the technology and techniques of the scammers have evolved, they have been able to successfully target younger victims.
Online Fraud Coverage would reimburse the direct costs incurred by the fraud, minus the deductible.
4. Data Breach Coverage
The phrase, “Bad things happen to good people,” applies most to Data Breach Coverage. That’s because, in the majority of cases, a person that has the sensitive identifying or financial information in their personal possession is volunteering their time and energy to a good cause. Someone selling tickets to a fundraising event may have credit card information on file from the buyers, or a youth soccer coach may have birthdays and addresses for the team and their parents. Data Breach Coverage notifies and pays for services to affected individuals in the event that private personal data entrusted to a household resident is breached.
Example: You volunteer at your child’s school and keep student birthday and lunch account information on your iPad. You leave the iPad at the security check-point while rushing for a flight, and realize that without that pesky password protection, private information is now at risk.
Data Breach Coverage would pay for the costs to meet with an attorney to evaluate your risk and determine next steps, and to notify the parents at school, minus the deductible.
It is unfortunate that cyberbullying is now a terrifying threat for any modern parent and their child. In a recent study by Pew, 59% of teens say they have been the victim of cyberbullying, a statistic that seems likely to rise as children grow up in an increasingly connected world.
Should such a terrible event occur in your household, the Cyberbullying Coverage of a Personal Cyber Insurance policy would pay for the costs an individual may incur being the victim of a cyberbullying attack, including, but not limited to, temporary relocation expenses, temporary private tutoring, lost wages, or legal expenses. For an event to qualify for this coverage, it must consist of two or more related acts, and the police must be contacted regarding the event.
Example: After defending another student against being bullied at school, your child starts receiving texts relentlessly mocking and bullying them. Your child becomes anxious and depressed, and their schoolwork suffers. You contact the police since the parents of the bullying children seem unable, or unwilling, to make the texts stop.
Cyberbullying Coverage would reimburse you for the costs of temporary private tutoring, plus enrollment fees at a new school, minus the deductible.
How to Prevent Cyber Attacks
Of course, you shouldn’t rely only on your insurance coverage to protect you from cyber attacks. Here are some precautions to follow online:
- Lock down your login details online, especially for social media networks and email, by use of two-step authentication.
- Regularly change your passwords (every 2-3 months) and use a password manager to securely save this information. A strong password is at least 12 characters long.
- When shopping online, research the site and read reviews to see if other consumers have had a positive or negative experience with the site.
- Never save credit card information online.
- Use safe payment options when making purchases online. Credit cards are generally the safest option because they allow buyers to seek a credit from the issuer if the product isn’t delivered or isn’t what was ordered.
- Report spam to prevent similar emails from being directly delivered to your inbox.
- Upgrade your computer and devices with the latest updates and operating systems.
- Backup your digital information, such as photos, music, financial and health records, and personal contacts, by making copies of your data in a cloud platform and on a hard drive.
As technology becomes increasingly enmeshed in our lives, the opportunity for a cyber-attack to occur to you or a member of your family also increases. To learn more, contact your insurance agent today.
Source: Eastern Insurance