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Personal Cyber: Managing Cyber Risk at Home

Cybersecurity Risk Management / March 01 , 2021

A Q&A with Andrew Martin of DynaRisk

With data breaches now affecting every corner of the business landscape, it’s easy to overlook the cyber risks in our own living rooms. Andrew Martin, CEO of DynaRisk, told us about the specific security and privacy risks individuals now face and what can be done to mitigate them.

As a homeowner, what concerns should I have about cyber risk facing my family?

We’ve grown accustomed to seeing company data records being breached or stolen, and records leaked and sold on the internet. But now we are seeing threat actors taking over Nest video cameras and talking to children in their bedrooms, breaking into personal cryptowallets to steal cryptocurrency and hacking into online game accounts to steal game items or cash. Many of the exploits that affect individuals are the same we see in the corporate world—phishing or email compromise that tricks you into revealing personal data such as banking account numbers.

With the pandemic we saw scams that tricked victims into revealing bank or credit card information to get their government stimulus checks. The hackers then used this information to carry out fraud. On the other end of the spectrum are activities like cyberbullying where teens or young adults may take over social media accounts of people they know and post insults or leak inappropriate information which can harm the victim’s self-esteem and impact their grades at school.

How does ransomware fit into this picture?

It’s definitely a concern, as ransom demands range from $100 to $10,000 to restore access to encrypted files or to prevent the publishing of embarrassing photos, and people are paying them. What doesn’t often get discussed is the emotional impact—it can be traumatizing for individuals to be told that someone has been on their personal computer, phone or home email—that loss of privacy is very difficult to endure.

Who is most at risk for these privacy and data loss events?

Everyone—but families as a unit are most exposed, given the number of people in the home. Children tend to be exposed to more risky activity as they use a lot of digital services. Generally speaking, the larger your digital footprint, the more ways there are to be attacked. We’ve even seen high-net worth individuals get defrauded out of huge sums of money where someone impersonates an auction house and redirects payments to the criminal.

What can I do to improve my security posture at home?

The problem is that there are over fifty immediate things most people can do to protect themselves which is just overwhelming for an average person. This is why we produce Cyber Security Scores for our customers that assess their risk and then walk them through the areas where they can improve step by step.

For most people, though, one place to start is by practicing basic hygiene with passwords. A password manager will help ensure that you’re not using the same passwords across sites. Also, be sure to adjust your social media settings to the most appropriate levels for your lifestyle. Dark Web monitoring is also essential so that you know if cyber criminals are trading your information.

For carriers wanting to offer personal cyber policies, we bundle our consumer product which includes dark web monitoring, education, vulnerability scanning and more. Customers can call our live hotline and speak to a cyber risk expert if they get a suspicious email or if their child is being cyber bullied to get some advice about how to handle these situations in real time.

How is personal cyber insurance different from ID theft insurance?

Personal cyber insurance got started outside the US in those markets where identity theft insurance didn’t exist—Asia, Europe and Africa. It has taken hold over a short period of time. ID theft insurance has a specific function and focuses on monitoring and managing your credit file whereas personal cyber has nothing to do with credit. It covers all things digital from ransomware, to cyberbullying—any risk for which you might need remediation.

How do DynaRisk’s services provide value to carriers?

Gone are the days of just providing policies. Insurers want engagement with customers. They want to maintain a relationship and encourage policy renewal. Our services help reduce the number of claims by improving client security and keep engagement up with risk management solutions.

In summary…

We want to thank Mr. Martin for his commentary on “personal cyber” and how homeowners and their families are being increasingly impacted by these threats. Given the direction of household and device connectivity (beyond computers that includes TVs, refrigerators, alarm systems, utilities and more), along with imminent 5G rollout, it will be interesting to see how the IoT might increase personal cyber exposure over the coming months.


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