Following the lead of the U.S Department of Homeland Security, Massachusetts has designated the month of October as National Cyber Security Awareness Month. According to the latest statistics (as of 2012) from the Multi-State Information Sharing & Analysis Center (MS-ISAC), approximately 73 percent of all Americans have been a victim of cybercrime.
“Cybersecurity is a top priority for DHS. Cyber threats are increasing in their frequency, scale, and sophistication,” said Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas. “Each American is a key part of our Nation’s first line of defense and in minimizing the impact of cyber attacks. I encourage all Americans to take advantage of National Cyber Security Awareness Month as an opportunity to recognize the role they play in making the Internet safer and more secure by practicing good cyber habits at home, work, school, and on the go.”
According to the Department of Homeland Security, approximately 44% of all small businesses in the U.S. have been the victim of a cyber attack, resulting in an average cost of $9,000 per attack. More importantly, almost 59% of U.S. small and medium sized-businesses have absolutely no contingency plan in place on how to respond after a cyber attack and to report a data breach loss.
With these figures in mind, it is no wonder that cyber insurance is poised for tremendous growth over the next decade. In a report from PwC Insurance 2020 & beyond: Reaping the dividends of cyber resilience, the firm estimates that annual gross written premiums are set to increase from current levels of $2.5 billion to $7.5 billion by the end of the decade. Worldwide, PWC believes that cyber crime costs the global economy some $400 billion, a number which it expects to continue to grow.
On a local front, aside from the possibilities of this new line of insurance, agents and insurers should also be on the front line in securing their own companies from a cyber attack.
How an employee can make his work place more cyber secure
The following are some tips that the MassIT Enterprise Security Office has suggested for better cyber security. Tips can be shared both in your office as well as with your insureds:
- Make all passwords complex and be sure to implement a policy in which they are changed regularly; Better yet, look into the industry initiative SignOn Once;
- Only open emails or attachments from people you know;
- Think about creating electronic and or physical back-ups or copies of your company’s most important data or work.
- Keep an up-to-date computer, meaning that all computer programs and software are updated in a timely fashion;
- Use a screen saver on your office computer that activate within a maximum of 15 minutes after no keyboard or mouse activity; this helps avoid a vulnerable work station resulting from an impromptu absence from your office due to a meeting, etc.
- Lock your computer each evening by pressing “CTRL+ALT+DELETE then select Lock this computer”