Protecting Against Cyber Threats
Criminals are now 19 times more likely to enter your home through your computer or connected devices than they are to break in through your doors or windows. For perspective, in 2017, 16 million Americans were the victim of identity fraud, while less than 840,000 households were burglarized.1
The most common motive for attacks remains financial gain, and your wealth and the complexity of your lifestyle makes you a very appealing target. You may own several internet-connected devices; use public Wi-Fi when traveling; employ domestic staff who help care for your children, manage your finances and maintain your homes; or have children who frequently stream videos and play games online. Each of these complexities creates a potential vulnerability and increases the attack surface for a thief to focus on.
As connectivity spreads into every corner of your personal and professional life, it becomes more and more critical for you to take precautions to protect yourself against the ever-evolving threat of cyberattack. From enabling multifactor authentication and establishing protocols for dealing with money transfers to protecting your home network, there are several steps you can take to safeguard your family’s personal information. You can learn more about the risks and find actionable advice to help keep your family safe in our white paper, “Cybersecurity and Advanced Techniques to Safeguard Your Data,” which you can download at puresituationroom.com/cyber.
Because no one is fully immune to the threat of fraud and cybercrime, we introduced PURE StarlingTM Fraud and Cyber Fraud Coverage, an optional endorsement that can be added to your Homeowners policy. With limits of $100,000, $250,000 and $1 million, it offers protection against financial losses due to fraud, whether it is committed online or off. The coverage also provides you with access to third-party resources and subject-matter experts to help you recover if you become the victim of cyber extortion or a system attack.
Since launching PURE Starling in 2017, we’ve seen firsthand the financial and emotional trauma felt whenever a member falls victim to fraud. The financial loss is often followed by embarrassment and fear of a repeat attack.
Children are increasingly becoming the target of cyberattacks.
Internet-connected devices are getting into the hands of younger children, and their naiveté and susceptibility to influence makes them a prime target for cyberattacks. From free mobile apps like Fruit Ninja to viral videos on YouTube, even the most innocent content can contain privacy risks and provide cybercriminals with an entry point into devices shared between family members. To learn more about how you can better protect your kids, home network and your family’s online identity, download “Cyber Crime and Privacy Risks in Free Mobile Apps for Kids,” a report developed by one of PURE’s cybersecurity partners, Rubica, at rubica.com/cyber-safety-for-kids.
Below are a few real examples from our membership to illustrate how sophisticated and sinister these attacks have become, and just how easy it is for even the smartest person to fall victim. In each of these examples, PURE Starling helped to reimburse all or some of the funds the member was defrauded.
While meeting with his financial advisor, a PURE member was asked to share details of the significant overseas investment he had just made. While such an investment was not out of the ordinary for our member, he hadn’t made a request of this nature in some time so he was confused by the question. As it turned out, our member’s email had been hacked, giving a cybercriminal all the necessary personal information and line of sight into our member’s writing style and habits. With this, the cybercriminal successfully impersonated our member and requested the advisor wire $1 million to an overseas account.
A PURE member was reserving a vacation home for an upcoming family getaway through a popular online rental website. The booking process was quick and easy, and the last step was to issue payment, so our member thought nothing of it when she received an email with payment instructions. Unbeknownst to our member, her email account had been hacked and the payment request she received was not from the rental website but instead from a cybercriminal. It wasn’t until after she wired $11,000 to the account on the payment instructions that she discovered what had happened.
A PURE member checked his email to find an invoice he was expecting for work done to his property, as well as a request for funding from a company he frequently invests in. Having typically transacted with these businesses via email, the member processed the payments without question. When he later received follow-up requests for payment, he discovered his money was never received. It turned out a criminal had hacked into his email account and altered the payment instructions, which the member unknowingly followed, issuing payments totaling more than $30,000 to fraudulent accounts.
1Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Internet Crime Report.