All of a sudden, unknown transactions appear on a credit card statement. After a careless click, a virus renders your computer unusable. It can be quite a shock! And it can happen to anybody. Cybercrime is a profitable business. And the problem is that no one is immune from it. It’s not just companies that become victims of online criminals – private individuals are also in their sights. This is why insurance companies now offer personal cyber policies so that consumers can safeguard themselves against the impact of virtual attacks. But what active steps can private individuals take to protect themselves, and is it worth taking out cyber insurance?
We’re all online more and more these days. Whether checking the news, looking up our account balance while out, shopping or sharing our latest selfies with friends. It’s usually a quick affair. So it’s easy to click on links in emails from unknown senders or open a file attachment without giving it a second thought. And that’s all it takes! Unexpectedly, access credentials for an online account are entered on a fake website or a trojan is installed that spies on the user in the background. How does cyber insurance play its part?
5 Online safety tips
As a basic rule, cyber insurance is only helpful once the damage has already occurred and for mitigating the consequences. But it’s much better to put a stop to online criminals through preventative measures aimed at protecting data and systems. This is usually the stance of insurers as well, who will not cover any of the costs otherwise. There are countless measures consumers can take for their security. These include:
Use an anti-virus programme and firewallUse a malware scanner to protect against threats like viruses, trojans or ransomware and perform regular virus scans. Protect the data traffic on your computer from external attacks using a firewall.
Secure passwordsSecure passwords consist of at least eight characters and contain upper and lower case letters, numbers and special characters. Never use the same password for multiple online accounts. Password managers help you remember all your long and complicated passwords.
Multi-factor authenticationTry to choose providers that offer you an additional level of security when logging into your online accounts via multi-factor authentication. If you are required to provide additional information such as biometric data (e.g. a fingerprint or facial recognition) when logging in, cybercriminals cannot get far using just usernames and passwords they have stolen or hacked.
Regular updatesMake sure you keep your operating system and programmes up to date using the regular service and security updates provided by the manufacturers.
Be careful when using personal data and links you are sentDon’t disclose too much personal information on the Internet. And apply common sense when it comes to attachments in emails or on social networks: don’t open anything that comes from unknown senders.
Before taking out a cyber insurance policy, it’s a good idea to check which costs of a cyber attack are covered by your existing policies, such as personal liability or home insurance.
In what cases does cyber insurance help?
If you want to be on the safe side, cyber insurance can be an option. Which damages are insured by such a policy, and for what amount, depends on the type and coverage of the selected product? This is why it’s always worth scrutinising a policy in detail.
Possible insurable benefits include:
Malware and data loss
For example, an insurer may cover the costs of removing a trojan infection on a computer and, where necessary, restoring the operating system. Some providers also pay for data recovery if a smartphone is infected and the user cannot access the data anymore.
Misuse of card or identity
Some insurers also step in to cover the damage caused by misuse of a card and/or identity. For example, if a purchase is made with a stolen credit card, they make sure that claims are asserted against the perpetrators. They also cover the financial loss. Phishing emails are still a popular – and unfortunately very successful – method used by cybercriminals to obtain access to your credentials, such as those for bank accounts. If policyholders suffer loss, they have the peace of mind of knowing that their insurance will cover them.
Damaged or undelivered online orders
Some insurance companies also offer support in the event of incorrect deliveries of online orders or purchases in counterfeit online shops where the promised goods are never delivered. For example, they may pay for repairs or cover the costs of reordering products if the retailer refuses to take responsibility for damaged goods.
Unfortunately, cases of cyberbullying are always on the rise. Some insurance service providers, therefore, offer support services in the event of personal injury or reputational damage. For example, if photos are shared illegally on the Internet, they help delete problematic posts and involve lawyers and, if necessary, psychologists. Even the costs of relocation are now reimbursed.
The price of a cyber policy depends on the scope of services selected and starts at an annual fee of around €40. It’s well worth your while to compare the products on offer from a range of insurers. And it’s even better to do everything you can now to ensure no damage can be caused by cyberattacks in the first place.