Even the most vigilant individuals can experience a cybersecurity breach. Having coverage to help recoup financial losses that are brought on by cyber extortion or stolen personal information can offer peace of mind during an otherwise stressful time.
LOS ANGELES, Calif. (April 6, 2020) - People across the country have been encouraged to stay at home in an attempt to curb the spread of COVID-19 throughout communities. Connected devices offer entertainment options and access to others outside our households, but home networks, most of which aren’t regularly maintained and monitored to protect against security breaches, are prime targets for hackers.
“Cyber criminals are continuously looking for ways to exploit computer system vulnerabilities and home networks are popular targets because so many of our devices – phones, TVs, computers, even appliances – are connected to them,” said Jane Li, Mercury Insurance director of product management. “Mercury provides Home Cyber Protection, an optional coverage to financially protect homeowners and renters if they fall victim to a cyberattack. But there are also steps they can take ahead of time to help prevent one from happening in the first place.”
Here are five tips to protect home networks – and connected devices – from hackers:
- Power down devices overnight. This disables the internet connection, cutting off access to any personal information stored on a computer, tablet or phone.
- Password protect wireless networks. Use a strong alphanumeric password that’s difficult to guess – refrain from using names, birthdates and other easily identifiable information. Wireless routers that are issued by cable providers are typically assigned a network name and password, which is located on the device. The accountholder can – and should – change this information using their online account for added security.
- Invest in anti-malware software. Malware – or malicious software – can be installed on a computer without the user’s knowledge, allowing hackers to damage the system, steal personal information or restrict access to extort money. Anti-malware software helps protect against, detect and remove malware, stopping cyber criminals from doing further damage. Avoid downloading music or video files from suspicious websites, as well as clicking on links or email attachments in messages sent from unknown senders to help prevent malware from infiltrating the system.
- Install recommended updates. Smartphone, computer, tablet and smart TV manufacturers, among other providers of connected devices, offer periodic software updates to protect against potential security breaches. Keep software up-to-date and set devices to install auto-updates when possible.
- Beware of phishing scams. Savvy cybercriminals try to trick unsuspecting individuals with emails – and even text messages – that resemble communications from official businesses and organizations. Don’t click on the links or attachments in messages originating from unknown addresses or phone numbers.
“Even the most vigilant individuals can experience a cybersecurity breach,” said Li. “Having coverage to help recoup financial losses that are brought on by cyber extortion or stolen personal information can offer peace of mind during an otherwise stressful time.”
Mercury’s Home Cyber Protection costs as little as $2.50 each month and includes the following:
- Payments to recover data and restore systems that have been lost or damaged due to a cyberattack – including ransomware attacks involving malware or unauthorized use of devices.
- Professional assistance by cyber extortion experts when responding to ransom demands.
- Protection from online fraud that results in a direct financial loss to a covered policyholder.
Coverage limit options of $25,000 and $50,000 per year are available.
Mercury’s Home Cyber Protection is available to Arizona, California, Georgia, Illinois, Nevada, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Texas and Virginia homeowners and renters. Go to https://www.mercuryinsurance.com/insurance/home-cyber-protection/ or contact a local Mercury Insurance agent to learn more.
ABOUT MERCURY INSURANCE
Mercury Insurance (MCY) is a multiple-line insurance organization predominantly offering personal automobile, homeowners and commercial insurance through a network of independent agents in Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, Texas and Virginia. Since 1962, Mercury has specialized in offering quality insurance at affordable prices. For more information visit www.mercuryinsurance.com or Facebook and follow the company on Twitter.