21 August 2019
Cyber-criminals takes aim at the high-net-worth
A notorious safe breaker was once asked why he robbed banks. “Because that’s where the money is’ came the considered response.”
Cyber-criminals are adopting a similar policy towards wealthy individuals. As corporations build stronger and stronger cyber defences, so the wealthy become a far easier low-risk, high-return target. ‘Wealthy’ means anyone with a little more wealth than the average. According to an Experian study, individuals who earn £100,000 a year or more are three-times more likely than the average to be targeted.
Visibility on-line, through business activities, charitable donations or social media postings, gives the hacker valuable profile information about you – information which also has a market value on the dark web to other criminal enterprises. Your phones, tablets and laptops – plus the welter of internet-connected devices now in the home – they offer a doorway into your daily and financial life.
Most cyber-attacks start with ‘phishing’. This is usually an email impersonating a friend, business associate or service provider. It is designed to trick you into clicking a link that will download malware or ransomware or into sharing bank details or a password or, maybe, even into parting with money. The Experian study shows that as well as being targeted directly, victims can be targeted indirectly by the hacker through their businesses, family members, domestic and personal staff, financial and wealth advisers, even their upmarket interests. For example, those who displayed an interest in tennis were 85% more likely to have suffered identity fraud than those who didn’t.
To protect yourself and your family it is sensible to follow certain simple basic principles.
Ensure your operating system and security software always has the latest updates. This will help protect both the system and your financial data against malware. Regularly check that all your home network-connected devices, from refrigerators to smoke-alarms, have the latest protective firmware. You are as vulnerable as your weakest network link. Use strong passwords – a combination of ten letters, numbers and symbols is recommended. Also change passwords regularly, an encrypted password manager will help. Always back-up your data. It provides a solid defence against ransomware as the data is safe and accessible even if you lose control of a device. Manage your social media privacy settings. The less you share publicly the better. Make sure your children and any domestic or personal staff are aware of the need for internet security.
Consider encrypting your data. An attacker is likely to give up on trying to decode gobbledygook. Install a virtual private network (VPN). A VPN will encrypt all traffic leaving your devices until it arrives at its destination. VPN is certainly a must if you log on to public Wi-Fi networks, particularly in airports or luxury hotels, which are happy hunting grounds for hackers of wealthy individuals.
Finally, think carefully and check before responding to any email that looks slightly odd or has a link. A good tip is to hover your mouse over the link, the coding at the end is likely to reveal whether it is authentic or a scam.
What cyber cover do you have?
Some insurers will include cyber cover in their high-net-worth household policies, whilst others may offer it as an additional add-on. Get in contact with your account manager to find out what your insurer is currently providing or has plans to offer going forward.
Ricky Downs, Centor’s Private Clients’ Manager, comments:
“Recognising and understanding the various ways you may be a target of cyber-crime is an important first step in protecting your family and assets, however, some attacks do get through, which is when you will need exceptional personal cyber insurance to help mitigate any damage.”
For more information, get in touch with:
0207 330 8725
Click here for more information.