App permissions – beware of who you share your location with. A tracking app has good reason to need to know your location, gaming apps don’t. Deny permission requests from apps for information they don’t need. Also choose applications from a reputable developer and only download from official app stores.
Antivirus software – ensure your devices have an antivirus software installed on them. If they become infected, such software can help secure the devices and remove the virus.
Lock screen – if your device has a lock screen which needs your password to access information, your data. will be a lot more secure if your device is stolen than if you have no password protection in place.
Two-factor identification – having two-factor identification on account logins makes it harder for criminals to gain unauthorised access to your account.
Sharing information – be wary of what you are sharing online and who you are sharing it with. The more ‘strangers’ and people you don’t know on social media who you connect with, the more at risk you are. The more information you share about yourself online gives hackers more information to use to impersonate you.
Complex passwords – the more complex your password, the better. It is recommended that a password should be between 8 to 64 characters long. Using a passphrase which is memorable to you and nobody else is a good way to create a secure password. Visit https://www.useapassphrase.com/ to see how quickly a password can be cracked by hackers.
Changing passwords – regularly change passwords across all devices and online platforms. You should ensure you don’t reuse your old passwords either. Passwords are constantly being cracked through data breaches and added to a database of passwords to use in future attacks.
Urgent action – if you receive an email or someone contacts you asking you to take urgent action right away, it may not be legitimate. Ask questions and check with people you trust to check the legitimacy of the request.
Be extra vigilant – especially with emails and texts. If something doesn’t look right, no matter who it’s from don’t click on any of the content. Phishers feed on mistakes – they often present people with information that sounds too good to be true. Use an alternative way to contact that person or company to verify its legitimacy.
Check website links – check the links provided in emails. They can be spoofed easily and can be made to look like legitimate websites. You can check whether the link looks legitimate by hovering your mouse over the URL.
Private video conferencing – if you are using video conferencing or other online platforms to stay connected with people, ensure you track who is joining calls. Don’t make any meetings public or post joining links on public forums.
Private networks – using public networks puts you at a higher risk. If you are using a public network, you shouldn’t use it to access private and confidential information. Disable auto-connect on your device. Cyber criminals can clone networks using a similar name to the legitimate private network. By allowing a device to automatically connect to a network, it could give someone easy access to infect your device.
Data backup – regularly back up your data and store it on a separate server. This will make it easier to access data in the event of a cyber-attack.
Training – individuals with access to highly sensitive data should be trained appropriately and considered for enhanced security protection. In addition, their digital footprints should be assessed and monitored to make it more difficult for them to be targeted, if compromised their confidential access to data could make for a more severe outcome.
Invest in cyber protection insurance – this can help protect your business against the risks of a cyber-attack and can help limit the damage caused to your business and customers if you are affected by cybercrime.
To find out your organisation's level of cyber risk, complete this quick cyber risk assessment:
To discuss protection from the impact of cybercrime please call our specialist team on 0330 678 1221.
Towergate Insurance are partners with Care England, NCF, Homecare Association and a number of regional associations and are actively engaging with insurers and our clients to obtain cyber protection for businesses of all sizes, to protect against the very real and growing threats of the digital age. We can offer cyber insurance for care businesses to help protect you should the worst happen.
Carolyn Baker-Mellor is a respected industry leader with over 35 years' experience within the care insurance sector. She works across a wide spectrum of insurance product and policy development, delivery and optimisation for care industry clients, including managing global corporate accounts, working closely with trade associations, and helping clients in protecting their businesses and personal assets.
Date: October 25, 2020