New Year -New Password – Avoid using the same password for all accounts and devices. Weak passwords or re-used passwords make the work of a cybercriminal easy. Instead, use complex passwords with symbols, numbers and letters. Create a unique password for each website account, and change them regularly. If tracking many passwords is daunting, try using a password safe – a small script that runs on your local device and in which you store your passwords and access it by a single unique PIN (just google “password safe”).
Be a savvy social media user – Social media has its benefits and does not have to be entirely avoided. But moderate use on an ad hoc basis instead of having these accounts active 24/7 will help keep you safe from hackers. In addition, you should harden your settings to disable shared connections, restrict geo-tags, limit exposure via privacy controls and put a check on app permissions. Finally, be aware of what you post and don’t provide too many details about your offline whereabouts and activities that could be used by criminals.
Protect all devices against theft — Make it a habit to shut down and secure your computer, laptop, tablet, cell phone and any other devices when you are away from them. Configure each device with a password access, or if possible a thumbprint access. Enable controls such as “Find My Phone” and remote wiping so that they can be tracked and shut off remotely in case of theft.
Don’t fall for a “phishing attack”— Avoid clicking on suspicious links or attachments. Scrutinize every incoming email, text and instant message carefully, and never click a link or open an attachment that you did not expect to receive. To do so is to invite hackers into the contents of your device. It’s good practice for organizations to test the cyber security awareness of their staff by hiring an external firm to attempt a controlled phishing attack to assess the need for cyber security training.
Keep software updated — Updating software and web-browsers will harden your devices against cyber attacks. These updates seem to pop up more and more frequently, but it is vitally important to use them as soon as you receive them since they offer protection against cyber attacks that have been recently identified. Don’t forget to do updates for all devices, not just your computer.
Homeowners Insurance Tip
Cyber-attacks go hand-in-hand with identity theft which can be difficult and time-consuming to recover from. Many insurance companies offer identity recovery options that may be added to your current insurance policy. Check with your insurance agent to see if you are covered for identity theft and to find out what sort of coverage is available.
The Latimer Insurance Agency is a full-service insurance agency in Bethesda, Maryland (Montgomery County) offering business/commercial insurance, auto insurance for your vehicle, home insurance for homeowners, renters and condo dwellers, and life insurance to all of Maryland (MD), Virginia (VA) Pennsylvania (PA), Delaware (DE), New York (NY), West Virginia (WV), North Carolina (NC) and Washington DC since 1919. Our experienced insurance agents at our office Bethesda, Maryland (Montgomery County) welcome your inquiries and are glad to discuss your coverage needs at any time. The scope of your insurance coverage and options depend entirely upon the policy and the insurance company providing it. This website is not intended to advise, offer or bind coverage. You should always discuss your insurance issues with professionals such as a licensed and qualified insurance agent before making any decisions or choosing a course of action.