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Protecting your personal assets in an increasingly online world

While the threat of cybercrime for everyday Australians may not seem as relevant as it does for larger corporations, the more commonplace new technologies become in our lives and homes, the greater the threat we face on an individual level. Integrating safe practices and building awareness of personal cyber risk is the first line of defence in protecting ourselves online.
Insurance also plays an increasingly important role in responding to the real consequences of cybercrime, just as it does with physical loss events like fires and floods. Here are some practical considerations to help protect you and your family from cybercrime.
Insurance & Personal Cyber Protection
According to the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC), a cybercrime is reported (on average) every ten minutes here. Australia’s relative wealth and strong economic position makes it an attractive target for cyber criminals, particularly high net worth individuals.  In response to these growing threats, leading householder insurers such as Chubb and AIG have enhanced their policy wordings to include personal cyber benefits and risk mitigation services such as:
  • Cyber bullying
  • Financial assistance
  • Cyber extortion, financial loss and breach of personal information
  • Access to qualified specialists such as cyber data and identity defence firms
  • Crisis and reputation management.
On average, the financial loss resulting from cybercrime is $6,000 for individuals and small enterprises. The automatic limits built into personal insurance policies with cyber extensions may be considered adequate for some individuals.
Alternatively, there is the option to purchase more comprehensive standalone cover through specialist providers. Standalone cyber policies offer higher limits ranging between $50,000 and $2 million. The coverage under these policies is often broader and more suitable for individuals with a higher risk profile. Obtaining this additional insurance may be advisable for high-net-worth individuals who transact more frequently online, work with a range of personal financial service providers (accountants, personal finance managers, lawyers) and are more appealing to attackers due to their wealth.
Passwords & Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)
While using the same password for each of your accounts is convenient, it’s also one of the largest vulnerabilities you can create for yourself online. If one of those websites or applications is breached, cyber criminals have the potential to access other personal accounts with the same login details.
Logins for personal bank accounts, health and Government-related services are highly susceptible to attack and expose you to threats such as identity theft. These types of accounts hold the greatest value to cyber criminals due to the sensitive information they contain, so consider using multi-factor authentication (MFA) applications such as Authenticator to enhance your security.  Discover more about protecting your personal information online in this guide by Honan’s Head of Technology, Stuart Madden.

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Smart Home Devices
Most smart home devices have default permissions and factory settings, which can leave your privacy and personal home security vulnerable to attacks. Be sure to update these settings on each device to ensure you are not sharing access with unknown devices.
It’s also important to maintain and regularly update firmware. The manufacturers of many smart home devices integrate new security fixes if vulnerabilities in the software are identified. These updates may not install automatically, so manually check for security or software patches on a regular basis.
Consider what you really need in your home, where you place devices, and be sure to monitor devices that are always switched on. You may also choose to disable certain features (such as voice command and Bluetooth) if these are not in regular use. Many people with fully integrated homes are now opting to have technology-free spaces in rooms they want to keep secure, such as children’s bedrooms and bathrooms.
With you all the way
To find out more about these policies and how they can be tailored to your specific needs, please feel free to reach out at any time. 
General Advice Warning: This advice is general and does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. You should consider whether the advice is appropriate for you and your personal circumstances. Before you make any decision about whether to acquire a certain product, you should obtain and read the relevant product disclosure statement.

All information above has been provided by the author.

Christie Mitsas, Honan Insurance Group, ABN 67 005 372 396, AFSL 246749

This article originally appeared on Honan News and has been published here with permission.

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