October is dedicated to cybersecurity, which is incredibly important today. Our lives are now composed of a series of connected activities — on social media, through smart home technologies, on banking systems, video games, anything with an online or app-based login, essentially. This interconnected technological existence is also known as the Internet of Things.
According to a recent Insurance Information Institute and J.D. Power 2018 Consumer Cyber Insurance and Security Spotlight Survey, three out of five Americans have connected technology in their homes. Of these, more than four of five either lack insurance to protect them from cyber threats or don’t know if they are covered. Renters and homeowners alike. Ownership of such devices is highest among 25-to-34-year-olds and lowest among people over the age of 65.
The most popular devices are voice command assistants like Amazon’s Alexa or Google Assistant. About a quarter of connected technology users said convenience is the main reason they chose these devices for their homes, cars, and about one-fifth cited security and safety. Roughly 60 percent of those who own connected technology said they don’t have privacy or cybersecurity concerns related to their connected devices, yet almost half said they have taken steps to protect their privacy or security.
Cyberrisk coverages are usually pretty affordable, sometimes as little as $30 per year. Yet, what’s missing is proper education about cyber-attacks and risks associated with them. This is why there’s no wonder that many cyber-attacks are essentially user-error—meaning that a hacker sends a disguised email and a user clicks on a link, downloading malicious code onto their computer. Even worse, someone buys a smart tech device and doesn’t change the factory password.
Knowledge is power, and is applicable in this case, too. Knowing about the risks of getting hacked is the first step to protecting your data. The next would be to use security tools, one handy tool is insurance.
“As more consumers adopt home and vehicle devices that collect and store personal data and use online shopping and sharing networks, personal cyberrisk insurance is becoming an increasingly important component of homeowners and renters policies,” said Sean Kevelighan, CEO of the Insurance Information Institute.
“This survey shows that cyberrisk is already on consumer radar, but they aren’t sure how and when to protect themselves. As digital identity theft and other concerns continue to rise, Insurance professionals have an important role in educating consumers about cyberrisk and the relatively inexpensive coverage that is available to protect them.”
Existing insurance policies, such as homeowners and renters insurance only cover stolen identity risks via an endorsement that must be added at the policyholder’s request. Known as identity restoration coverage, the endorsement helps the policyholders after their personally identifiable information is stolen. Related expenses such as attorney fees and lost wages may be covered and a fraud specialist should be available to handle the entire restoration process.
Some companies offer standalone policies that cover identity restoration, along with professional assistance for responding to personal ransomware attacks and malware removal, as well as reprogramming computers and other devices, including Wi-Fi routers.