Every business and individual is at risk. What can you do to stay safe online?

Although we would all much rather ignore it, Cybercrime is here to stay.  According to figures released by Hiscox, the leading insurer, cyber attacks on small businesses are in the range of 900 on a quiet day to 359,000 on a bad one. It will only get worse. The average cost of repairing the damage after a raid is currently £25,700 (e.g ransoms paid and hardware replaced).  This does not reflect the hours involved in dealing with the aftermath or the reputational damage it can inflict.  Farmers Weekly has reported that farmers are amongst the top targets for financial fraudsters but the truth is that every household and business is vulnerable and cyber attack is a form of intrusion that has be taken as seriously as any other crime.

The wherewithal needed by a criminal to launch a credible attack is easily obtained. Classic approaches are to pose as your bank, a business contact or your internet provider.

Beaufort Major, security specialists in this area, provide the following advice which can only be worth reiterating however many times we have heard it:

1.    Passwords should be complex, using three random words changed regularly, especially when employees leave and extra care taken for bank and email accounts.
2.    Anti-virus software should be installed on all devices and software should be kept up to date as soon as the developers make updates available.
3.    Don’t open any attachments you were not expecting. 
4.    Keep confidential data out of sight.  Everyone has a smartphone camera today that can quickly capture private information in passing.
5.    Shred it.  
6.    Beware of phishing scams. Unlike common spam, a phishing e-mail is after personal details and disguised to look like a real email.  Key things to look out for include:
•    The senders email won’t look right; hover over the sender’s name to reveal the real email address
•    The grammar and English may be poor
•    They may want you to click on a link or open a file
•    They often create a false sense of urgency
7.    Delete any e-mails that are suspicious or call the sender directly.
8.    Don’t access your bank or personal information using Free Wifi as this is not secure.
Every business is on the radar of cyber scammers and as with conventional theft, the opportunist burglar often poses the greatest risk. Cyber insurance needs to become a normal part of every insurance programme and cover obtained for risks such as hacker damage, cyber theft, social engineering, cyber extortion and financial loss after a successful attack.