For Immediate Release:
October 13, 2023
Defend Your Digital World From Cyber Threats
By Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner Glen Mulready
October marks the 20th anniversary of Cybersecurity Awareness Month. This initiative, first designated by President George W. Bush and Congress in 2004, focuses on protecting consumers from cyber threats. In our ever-increasingly digital world, I think it’s crucial for Oklahomans to understand the dangers of cybercrime. Criminals can steal your identity and money without you even realizing it! However, you don’t have to be the victim of cybercrime. There are some simple steps you can take to keep yourself safe online.
Take precautions. The easiest way to avoid scams and cybercrime is to prepare for them before they become threats. Use strong and unique passwords for your online accounts. Check your credit score once a year and your financial accounts often for suspicious activity. Cybercriminals might try to steal your children’s identities, so monitor their information, too. Set up multifactor authentication on any platforms that offer it and install updates on your devices to strengthen your protection against malicious software. Safeguard the personal details you share online. These steps will reduce the chances of becoming a victim of cybercrime.
Review your resources. Did you know some insurance companies offer identity theft protection and restoration as part of homeowners insurance policies? This type of coverage will help cover the costs of recovering your identity. Many tools now exist to help consumers monitor their personal data and credit scores online, which can make looking after your information easier. Similarly, some insurance companies offer cyber insurance to businesses to cover the risks of doing business online. Always check what your coverage includes and make changes if needed.
Create a cybersecurity plan. Having a cybersecurity plan in place can help mitigate your risks. If you own a business, consider auditing your company’s security infrastructure and creating a data protection policy to ensure your data remains secure. For consumers, check your financial institution’s policy for disputing fraudulent bank or credit card charges and know the number to call to report suspicious activity on your accounts.
Stay vigilant. Cyber threats loom everywhere online. Knowing how to spot them will help keep you safe. For example, one of the most common cyber threats is phishing. Phishing refers to a scam where cybercriminals send a legitimate-looking email or text message from a seemingly reputable source to get you to click a link or initiate a download. In doing so, you compromise your personal data or infect your device with viruses or malicious software. You can easily spot these threats, though. Always look at the source website, check messages for typos and grammatical errors, and beware of urgent language, especially if you’re not expecting the message. If emails or text messages look suspicious, don’t click on any links, and delete them.
We’re here to help! Did you know the Oklahoma Insurance Department works to ensure insurance providers protect sensitive policyholder information? For more information or to file a complaint, visit our website at www.oid.ok.gov or call 800-522-0071. Here are some additional resources to help you prepare for cybersecurity threats.
- NAIC Consumer Cybersecurity Resource Page
- NIST Small Business Cybersecurity Corner
- CISA Cybersecurity Awareness Month