Although it’s taken a back seat to domestic concerns over the past year, cybercrime is still on the rise. Attacks such as “Wannacry” shut down health care systems and businesses across the globe in 2017,1 and the World Economic Forum estimates cybercrimes cost the global economy about $445 billion a year. 2
It is a unifying issue that has countries large and small sharing resources and building defense mechanisms to thwart attacks.3
It’s easy to view hacking as something that impacts only large companies. However, data is a valuable commodity, whether it’s stolen from a home computer or a company’s customer database.
In 2017, there were 1,579 data breaches in the U.S. alone. That may not sound like many, but those breaches yielded close to 179 million exposed consumer records. The Yahoo breach in October 2017 resulted in 3 billion compromised records.4
Because headlines focus more frequently on theft of personal data from corporations, it may seem like there’s nothing an individual person can do to prevent it. But we can and should deploy the protections cybersecurity experts recommend, such as using complex passwords and changing them often, installing and regularly updating anti-virus software, not clicking on suspicious links and being wary of paying bills and making other financial transactions on public Wi-Fi networks.5
Two of the biggest current cybercrime issues in the U.S. appear to be the prospect of Russian interference in the 2016 election, and the use of targeted social media to influence voters with false news information. Several popular social networks, such as Facebook and Twitter, have come under attack for not adequately policing participants and messages of hate, racism, terrorism and other forms of abuse.6
This year, the World Economic Forum announced the formation of The Global Centre for Cybersecurity. This effort is designed to facilitate faster, more effective information sharing between nations and private technology companies to help combat cybercrime. The center will focus on consolidating existing cybersecurity initiatives, creating a centralized library of cyber best practices, establishing a regulatory framework for cybersecurity and anticipating cybersecurity risk scenarios and solutions for the future.7
One of the proven ways to help protect our finances is through insurance. We protect our homes, our health, our cars and our businesses. It also may be worth considering ways to protect our future retirement income through the use of insurance products, such as annuities. Please contact us if you’d like to learn more.
1 Danny Palmer. Zdnet.com. Jan. 26, 2018. “Ransomware: Is time running out for the biggest menace on the web?” http://www.zdnet.com/article/ransomware-is-time-running-out-for-the-biggest-menace-on-the-web/. Accessed Feb. 12, 2018.
2 World Economic Forum. “Cybercrime.” https://www.weforum.org/projects/cybercrime. Accessed Feb. 12, 2018.
4 Statistica.com. “U.S. consumers and cyber crime – Statistics & Facts.” https://www.statista.com/topics/2588/us-consumers-and-cyber-crime/. Accessed Feb. 28, 2018.
5 Iowa State Bank. “Cyber Crime and How It Affects You.” https://iowastatebank.net/cyber-crime-and-how-it-effects-you/. Accessed Feb. 12, 2018.
6 Aoife White. Bloomberg. Jan. 23, 2018. “Facebook Will ‘Do Better’ to Stem Abuse, Sandberg Vows.” https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-01-23/facebook-will-do-better-to-stem-internet-abuses-sandberg-vows. Accessed Feb. 12, 2018.
7 World Economic Forum. Jan. 24, 2018. “To Prevent a Digital Dark Age: World Economic Forum Launches Global Centre for Cybersecurity.” https://www.weforum.org/press/2018/01/to-prevent-a-digital-dark-age-world-economic-forum-launches-global-centre-for-cybersecurity/. Accessed Feb. 12, 2018.
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