KANSAS CITY, Mo., May 5, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- In 2015 alone, there were 781 U.S. data breaches affecting more than 150 million records.1 As cyberattacks become more widespread, John M. Huff, President of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), advises consumers to act now to learn how to protect themselves from inevitable data breaches.
"With millions of data records stolen each day, cybersecurity is more important now than ever," said Huff, who also serves as the Missouri Insurance Director. "It's imperative consumers learn their options for defending themselves against growing cybersecurity threats."
Secure data can be compromised through physical theft and accidental access via email; however, hacking is the most common method for stealing data. More than one-third of all data breaches were due to hacking in 2015, an 8.4 percent jump over 2014. The business sector suffered the most attacks in 2015, followed by the health/medical field and banking/financial institutions.
Insure U offers a cybersecurity risk management consumer alert about how to safeguard against cyberattacks and what to do in the event of a breach. In addition, the following tips can help consumers get educated and protect themselves:
- Keep your information safe online: Protecting personal information online means maintaining strict privacy settings on computers, devices and browsers including complex passwords. Sharing personal information on social media should be weighed and considered as it could increase vulnerability. The more hackers know about a person, the easier it is for them to build data profiles to target individuals.
- Understand policy terms: Banks and credit card companies typically offer fraud protection, so take time to learn the policy terms. Identity theft victims may be eligible for free security freeze services as provided by each state's security freeze law. And, consumers who keep money in investment accounts should ask their advisors about protection in the event of a security breach.
- Learn the options: Small business executives who rely upon mobile devices and personal computers to access financial data or other sensitive information may need more coverage. These business owners should talk to their insurance agents to understand options.
- Weigh costs against risks: Some homeowners' and auto policies now offer identity theft protection, including access to credit monitoring and repair services in the event of a breach. This coverage may not refund what was lost, but instead cover the costs associated with restoring a person's identity.
- Reconsider fancy features: Technological advances in vehicles means new risks to personal data and safety. Before buying that fancy new car, consumers should understand the technology features and how accidents caused by technology malfunctions are covered.
- Be proactive: With personal health records now commonly stored electronically, sensitive patient information is a frequent target of cyberattacks. If health records (or any other related data) are stolen from an insurance provider, consumers should carefully read recommendations from the provider and closely review financial statements.
Insurance providers have access to personal information identity thieves find valuable. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners has developed a Roadmap for Cybersecurity Consumer Protections to help consumers understand what to expect from insurers.
For more tips and information to help consumers protect themselves from data breaches and other technological intrusions, visit InsureUonline.org/cybersecurity. Consumers interested in insurance information specific to where they live can contact their state insurance commissioner.
1 Identity Theft Resource Center
The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) is the U.S. standard-setting and regulatory support organization created and governed by the chief insurance regulators from the 50 states, the District of Columbia and five U.S. territories. Through the NAIC, state insurance regulators establish standards and best practices, conduct peer review and coordinate their regulatory oversight. NAIC staff supports these efforts and represents the collective views of state regulators domestically and internationally. NAIC members, together with the central resources of the NAIC, form the national system of state-based insurance regulation in the U.S. For more information, visit www.naic.org.
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SOURCE National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC)