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5 Questions to Ask Clients About Cyber Risks

Personal cyber risk is more pervasive than people believe. Having conversations about cyber risk can help you stand out as a risk advisor.
Sponsored by Safeco Insurance
5 questions to ask clients about cyber risks

Our devices create virtual bridges to funny videos, life hacks and the entirety of human knowledge. But cybercriminals lurk under those bridges.

News headlines and TV plotlines spotlight attacks against deep-pocketed targets, like Colonial Pipeline, fueling public opinion that cyber risk management is only for big business.

But personal cyber risk is pervasive. You'd be hard-pressed to find anyone who hasn't been contacted about their car's extended warranty. The pandemic resulted in an “unprecedented increase" in reported cyberattacks, according to the FBI's 2021 Internet Crime Report (ICR). Americans lost over $1.2 billion between tech support and confidence or romance scams alone. When you add in identity theft, credit card fraud, extortion and sextortion, data ransoms, systems breaches, email account compromise, phishing, smishing, vishing and other cyber risks, the impact is staggering.

However, many insurance agents skip cyber risk discussions with personal and small business customers alike.

Here are five questions to start the conversation and stand out as a risk advisor.

1) How do you manage cyber risk? Many consumers' cyber risk strategy is running antivirus software and relying upon credit card fraud indemnity. And while the average cost of a cybercrime was $8,000 in 2021, according to the ICR, for many consumers, the real impact is the aftermath of a cyberattack.

Recovering from identity theft can require hundreds of hours of legwork and tens of thousands of dollars in attorneys' fees, especially if the identity was used for felonious acts.

2) Do you use public Wi-Fi? Connecting to public Wi-Fi opens the door for hackers to intercept and capture transmitted information, like login and password credentials. Connecting to a banking app from public Wi-Fi gives hackers the information needed to drain the account. Browsing Amazon or checking email or social media are just as risky, especially when consumers use one password for multiple sites.

3) How many devices are connected to your home network? The average U.S. household has 22 devices connected to their home network, according to a 2022 Deloitte study. Entertainment devices—like smart TVs and gaming consoles—personal assistants, smartwatches, security cameras, doorbells and thermostats, and even connected refrigerators and baby monitors make life easier.

But, because most Internet of Things (IoT) devices are unencrypted, they're an open door for cybercriminals. Once a device is breached, it's simple to access the data, files and passwords stored on other devices connected to that network.

4) How active are you online? The anonymity of the internet takes bullying to new heights. Saying the wrong thing can lead to doxing: The victim's contact information is shared, resulting in harassing calls, emails, texts and direct messages—sometimes in the thousands—threatening humiliation, injury or death.

Other popular harassment tactics include swatting, which is falsely reporting criminal activity to the police with hopes of a SWAT team deploying to the victim's home, and false reports of child abuse. Cyberbullying victims can face a lengthy and expensive process to clear their names.

5) How about your children and teens? Approximately 46% of middle and high school students report experiencing cyberbullying in their lifetimes, according to a 2021 study from the Cyberbullying Research Center. Because bullying shifts from school to online gaming, social media, group chats and more, it's impossible for the victim to find relief. Scandalous images and defamatory content, even if false, become part of the student's online reputation and can impact their ability to get into college or find a job.

Teen cyberbullying victims are twice as likely to struggle with depression and suicidal ideation. Recovery may require extensive therapy, removing the student from school and digital reputation management.

As the world becomes more digital, the risk of a cyberattack is on the rise, and many consumers are unprepared to handle the aftermath. Asking these questions can help your customers understand and manage their cyber risk. One solution is offering Safeco's Cyber Protection coverage, which is a suite of innovative coverages and services designed to help consumers detect and recover from a variety of cyberattacks.

To learn more about Cyber Protection coverage, visit Safeco Now for coverage details, product slideshow, a brochure and more. Coverage is not yet available in all states. 

5 Questions to Ask Clients About Cyber Risks

Friday, October 14, 2022
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