Ransomeware Insurance – Insurance against Cyber Extortion

Insurance against Cyber Extortion.

Regulators are concerned about the possibility of businesses and individuals being victimized by ransomware attacks. They encourage the public to become aware of them and take steps to guard against them. One of the steps is to consider the purchase of a cybersecurity insurance policy.

Ransomware, sometimes called cyber extortion, is a type of malicious software that infiltrates computer systems and locks them down. Typically the data or system is then held hostage by encryption until payments are made or other demands are met. Once the data or system has been frozen, the hacker directs the victim to pay a sum of money (ransom) to regain access to the device or data. Ransomware is a type of cyber-attack that can infect virtually any type of computer, including desktops, laptops, tablets and smart phones. The goal of the hackers is not to destroy or permanently encrypt the data, but to secure fast payment of the ransom.

Ransomware attacks are on the rise and are considered an escalating threat for the foreseeable future. According to the FBI, an average of 4,000 ransomware attacks occurs every day with damages hovering around $1 billion annually. That number is up 300% from 2015. Moreover, according to SecureList, “The number of ransomware attacks on businesses tripled in 2016, jumping from one attack every two minutes in Q1 to one every 40 seconds by Q3.” As a result, the number of people and businesses at risk are increasing every year.

Although the temptation to pay the ransom is great, the FBI warns this carries its own risks. There is no guarantee the data will be restored after the ransom is paid. Additionally, there is some evidence victims who have paid ransoms are often targeted again as hackers share information about successful attacks. Recent studies have shown that business leaders today pay a lot more than people expect to only hope to get their files back. IBM conducted a survey of 600 U.S. business leaders to get their feedback on what they would do if faced this kind of situation. The results concluded that 70% of these leaders have in fact paid a ransom to regain access back to their business files. Of the companies responding to the survey, nearly half of them have paid more than $10,000, and 20% of them paid more than $40,000.

Insurance is a critical element of preparing for ransomware attacks. The forensic and information security experts available through cyber insurance policies are an important resource in examining the extent of damage and attempting to minimize downtime, for example, and some of the costs of paying a ransom and losses from business interruption may well be recoverable.

Losses from these attacks could fall under a few different lines of coverage, depending on how they play out and where policyholders want to file claims. Your agent can make sure that a customer who wants coverage for cyber extortion gets that coverage through a business or cyber policy.

 

 

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Are you a member of the “Sandwich Generation”?

Multi generation family hands together

You are if you take care of children at home as well as elderly parents. Managing the life of aging parents can be challenging financially as well as emotionally. According to Pew Research Center report one out of seven middle-aged Americans is providing financial support to both an aging parent and a child.

Who is the sandwich generation? Its members are mostly middle-aged: 71% of this group is ages 40 to 59. An additional 19% are younger than 40 and 10% are age 60 or older. Men and women are equally likely to be members of the sandwich generation. Hispanics are more likely than whites or blacks to be in this situation.

Here are a couple steps to make it easier. 

  • Remain positive and keep encouraging your parents independence.
  • Make sure your decisions that must be made are with your parents, not just for them.
  • Get help when needed, especially with parent health issues. Preserve your own health.
  • Get all your documents in order with professional assistance. Make realistic plans for health care as well as college expenses for children. Be aware of tax exemptions relating to senior care and also Medical Care Deductions.
  • Keep smiling.

Source: Pew Research Center

 

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Falling in Love with Fall Food

It’s now Autumn! Labor Day is a distant memory and we have enthusiastically arrived in October. The days are getting shorter and weather a little cooler and we are anxiously awaiting sweater-weather.

So what are we cooking? Everything pumpkin naturally. What are 5 things we can’t wait to make?

1. The Cheesiest, Most Savory Pumpkin-Y Baked Pasta. Pasta Al Forno with Pumpkin and Pancetta. It’s the best possible combination of pumpkin, pancetta and five types of cheese. Check this out.

2. Introducing the Classic Apple Galette. It’s warm, it’s flaky and the baked apples are heartwarming. Get ready for perfection.

3. Chocolate + Pumpkin = Pumpkin Brownies (plus, the secret ingredient – a dash of espresso powder). The addition of pumpkin makes them richer and more savory. Get ready to bake.

4. Apple Cider and Cardamom Roasted Pears – This is quick delicious and full of fall flavor. Include a little maple syrup and some vanilla yogurt if you like. Visit.

5. Savory pork sausage meets tart apples and sharp Cheddar cheese in the Sausage and Apple Pie to Die For. Words to describe: hearty, comforting, savory. Visit.

Source: food52.com

And what should we drink with these savory foods – every try pumpkin beer?

Here are some breweries that lean on the caramel flavors to make the pairing work.

  • Schlafly Pumpkin Ale from St. Louis Brewery
  • Jolly Pumpkin’s La Parcela 
  • Sam Adam’s Fat Jack Double Pumpkin
  • New Holland’s Ichabod Ale
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How To Stay Safe This Halloween

If we’re all honest, we get as excited about Halloween as our kids do. And while we have to be safe while attending (and getting to and from) our festive parties, we also have to be responsible for our kids: choosing costumes, trick or treating, and parties.

Try to review these with your kids before they hit the streets, ideally a few days before. Let’s face it: once they pick out their costume and see the candy in the stores, they’re not going to hear a thing you say. Especially because safety is boring in their minds, so read on for some good tips. Continue Reading →

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Half of Side Business Owners Uninsured

You’ve probably heard the terms “side hustle” or “side gigs” being bandied around, but what it really is is a “side business”, a business that is not the owner’s primary source of income. And 25 percent of Americans, roughly 57 million people, have a side business, according to a new survey from the insurance company The Hartford. Continue Reading →

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What Were the Top Ten Stolen Vehicles in 2017?

We all know that car alarms are at best annoying and at worst, useless. Who pays attention anymore?

But which car you own may make the difference between it being stolen or safe, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, or the NICB. They released their annual Hot Wheels report, which is not about those little cars you step on in the night when your son leaves them on the floor, but identifies the most stolen vehicles in the United States based on vehicle theft data acquired from the National Crime Information Center (NCIC). Continue Reading →

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It’s Time for Back to School. Need Some Tips?

 

While there may be some kids out there who can’t wait for the first day of school (this writer was one of those few!), many are not as excited, whether it just be losing the freedom of summer or anxiety about doing well academically, making new friends, or trying out for sports.

You can help calm your youngsters’ fears—and maybe a few of your own—by using the tips below that are recommended by teachers.

Have a meet-and-greet.
It may sound like a networking meeting, but meeting the new teacher before the school year starts is a great way to conquer one of kids’ biggest fear: whether or not they will like their teacher. Most schools have an open house or “Back to School” night, which is the perfect time to meet the new teacher without the pressure of a one-on-one get together. Can’t make it to those? Try a phone call or email with the teacher, which many are happy to do, and perhaps ask for a photo so your child can see what they look like. Some sort of video chat would be a good idea too, if the teacher is willing.

Take a tour.
That open house or back to school night provides another fantastic opportunity—to tour the school with your child. Even if they have been to the school before, they may now be in another section or classroom, and the tour can help prevent nervousness on the first day. If it is the same school as the previous year, get your child involved by asking them to show you around—it’s a nice technique that will distract them from any butterflies in their tummies.

Check in with friends.
While many children play with friends from school all summer long, there may be some close school friends who do not live nearby. Reach out to them and schedule a play date or lunch, and perhaps get the carpool organized. Knowing there will be friendly faces on campus on the first day will be very comforting for both you and your student.

Go shopping.
Most teachers will provide a supply list, so make a date for a special shopping trip. Help them feel prepared by providing them with all the right tools, especially if there are some they may need to practice with, like a calculator or protractor. Also, splurge a little bit and let them select one or two items, like a special notebook or a set of colored markers, making the trip a lot more fun.

Let them be kids.
It may be tempting to review last year’s classes the few weeks before school starts, try not to. While learning over the summer is a good thing, it’s also good to let your kids have some down time before classes begin. You can start a few days before the first day to get them prepared, like waking them up and even driving to school or the bus stop, but try not to make them anxious by drilling them about what they should be doing to prepare.

Do you need a policy update for your homeowners, renters, auto or business insurance? Call us on 714-838-1911 or click here to email us a message. Also, keep up to date on our tips, advice, and industry knowledge by following our LinkedIn page.

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A Useful Task for Drones: Investigating Car Accidents

Here in Southern California, we know how just one car crash, even a fender bender, can make our freeways a total mess, rush hour or not. And if it is, sadly, a crash with multiple cars and injuries, the time it takes to obtain evidence and clear it becomes exponentially longer.

But what if a drone, like the one your annoying neighbor keeps playing with, could help? A growing number of police agencies throughout the country are starting to rely on drones to take aerial photographs that will help investigators with the crash, and allow them to clear the scene more quickly. The sheriff’s office in Tazewell County, Illinios used this drone technology to help them investigate a multi-vehicle crash that killed an elderly woman in July. Continue Reading →

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Don’t Rely On Driver Assist Systems, Says Insurance Institute

 

Earlier this month, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety published a paper titled “Reality Check” after testing five of the electronic driver assist programs for Tesla, Mercedes, BMW and Volvo, both on a track and on public roads.

The result? “Cars and trucks with electronic driver assist systems may not see stopped vehicles and could even steer you into a crash if you’re not paying attention,” writes The Associated Press in an article on the Insurance Business website. Continue Reading →

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