Unfortunately, data breaches are a hot topic in the news these days. From retailers like Target and Home Depot to universities and now Equifax [a credit bureau], the threat spans across [and has already impacted] a large population. I’ve almost become numb to the words when I hear of another breach – “Not again! Oh well, what can I do about it now?” However, there are things that can be done for protection both before and after your personal information has been exposed during such a breach. Let’s take a closer look at the Equifax incident as you very well could be one of the millions affected. There are steps you can take to protect yourself.
Equifax is a credit bureau housing millions of people’s personal information, such as social security numbers, birth dates, home addresses and driver license numbers. On July 29th, Equifax was informed of a cybersecurity breach of their files that made client files vulnerable since May. They have since taken measures to shut down this criminal activity.
It is important to note that even if you did not have a direct relationship with Equifax, or are unfamiliar with the company, you may still be impacted. Equifax estimates that 143 million of U.S. consumers may be at risk of having their personal information exposed. About 209,000 consumer’s credit card numbers became unprotected. Equifax has setup a separate website to help people determine if they are one of those impacted [www.equifaxsecurity2017.com ]. Unfortunately, this has led to more confusion for the public. For more clarification, Westbend Mutual Insurance Company has put together the latest information to help keep you informed. They have stated “the safest approach is to assume your information was compromised”. Click here to continue reading and have your questions answered.
We’ve learned from the reactionary side of things about what you can do to protect our information but there are ways you can be proactive and have the right steps in place to help keep you calm during a scary and uncontrollable time. Cyber insurance has been an emerging risk in the insurance industry over the last few years and with more and more people becoming affected by these breaches, the risk is more real than ever. Insurance is often considered a risk transfer tool, however it is critical to invest in prevention and mitigation strategies, tools, and resources. Some insurance carriers are adding a small – yet important – limit of identity theft expense to homeowners policies via enhancement or endorsement. Businesses can purchase individual cyber policies to help cover the large expense of notification costs to those impacted as well as legal fees.
If you skipped ahead because you had the same reaction as I did when hearing about yet another cyber-attack, I want you to just remember this: insurance companies and agencies have resources to help you be less susceptible to a breach and also more prepared for if – or when – it happens.