National Cybersecurity Awareness Month (NCSAM) occurs annually in October. Started in 2003 by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and private sector sponsors and nonprofit collaborators that form the National Cyber Security Alliance, this annual event promotes cybersecurity and recommends resources for online safety. You and your company can make several preparations this month as you look forward to celebrating Cybersecurity Awareness Month with your employees, customers and community.
Host an Educational Event
Begin planning an open house, expo, lecture, or other educational event that focuses on cybersecurity. Depending on your company, you may decide to focus your educational efforts on information that will benefit senior citizens, college students or families. For example, your IT specialist could present advice that helps consumers avoid cybercrime, or you could show customers how to implement security protocols on their electronic devices. Get creative as you prepare to raise cybersecurity awareness during an educational event.
Cybersecurity training should occur year-round, but your employees may be especially receptive to security tips during a month that’s focused on raising awareness. Take advantage of this annual opportunity to discuss topics like choosing secure passwords, securing electronic devices used for work and managing email safety. Or choose a different topic based on your unique needs.
Focus on Different Weekly Topics
This year, NCSAM includes four weekly topics. In summary, those topics include:
- Online safety at home.
- Training for a cybersecurity career.
- Ensuring online safety at work.
- Safeguarding critical infrastructure throughout the nation.
Your company can prepare to discuss these weekly topics during your events, through customer newsletters and on social media.
Utilize Your Social Media Influence
If your company has a large social media following, you have a powerful platform to raise awareness for cybersecurity. You can write blog posts that outline the importance of cybersecurity, share information about how to join the cybersecurity workforce or detail the ways your business protects data. Also, prepare info-graphs and other visual aids that discuss online safety tips.
Partner with Other Companies
Like NCSAM was started through a collaboration, your company can partner with other businesses as you increase cybersecurity awareness. Share the latest cybersecurity information, create resources that educate the public about cybersecurity or host an online safety seminar together.
Check your Cybersecurity Insurance Coverage
Cybersecurity insurance protects your business in many circumstances. Review your needs with your insurance agent as you ensure you have the correct amount of cybersecurity insurance for your company.
As your business prepares to celebrate National Cybersecurity Awareness Month in October, consider taking these steps now. They give you the tools you need to raise cybersecurity awareness among your employees, customers and community.
October, Adopt a Shelter Dog month, is a great time to add a dog to your family. Be careful which breed you adopt, though. Insurance companies use data from insurance claims and public health studies to create a high risk dog breed list, and your homeowners insurance premiums can increase based on the type of dog you adopt. You can save money when you choose a dog that’s not on the high risk list.
Working Breed Dogs
Agile, powerful and intelligent, Akitas, Alaskan Malamutes, Doberman Pinschers, Rottweilers and Siberian Huskies are also fiercely protective. If they’re not trained properly, these breeds could be potentially dangerous, especially to young children and small pets.
Loyal and protective, American Pitbull Terriers and American Staffordshire Terriers have been bred to hunt. These traits mean they can become aggressive and tenacious if they’re cornered or frightened by one of your family members or guests.
Police departments, military personnel and ranch hands appreciate this breed because the dogs are intelligent, hard-working and powerful. They’re also suspicious of strangers and won’t back down, which makes them a challenging breed for inexperienced owners to handle.
Independent and strong Chow Chows are often kept as companions. These fluffy dogs can be aloof and stubborn, though, and should only be adopted by experienced dog owners.
Wolf Hybrid and Presa Canarios dogs exhibit strength and protective characteristics. However, they can also be unpredictable and quick to attack, making them potentially dangerous breeds. Friendly and docile Great Danes are listed on the high risk list, too, because of their size.
A dog adds fun and companionship to your home and family, and adopting a shelter dog is socially responsible. Before you choose a new pet, though, consider whether or not it will increase your homeowners insurance cost. If so, you may choose a different breed or reduce your home insurance premiums by installing a dog fence or raising your deductible.
Whether you drive a vehicle that’s hot off the assembly line or one that’s old enough to be an antique, you want your car to last a long time. A fall tune-up helps you achieve your goal. It also maximizes fuel efficiency, prevents expensive repairs and ensures your vehicle runs properly all winter.
Read the Owner’s Manual 🙂
In the back of your vehicle’s owner’s manual, you’ll find a tune-up checklist. Follow it carefully as you ensure you repair and inspect all the essential areas of your vehicle this fall.
Fix the Brakes
Your mechanic should inspect the brakes for wear and ensure the brake lights on your vehicle work properly.
Change the Oil
Your vehicle’s engine requires engine oil as it operates smoothly. Top off the oil this fall or invest in a complete oil change, especially if you’ve driven 15,000 miles since your last oil change.
Check the Battery
Wipe off the terminals and make sure the battery is attached correctly. If it’s older than four years, replace it so that you’re not left stranded. Spray some battery protector.
Soft, leaky or loose hoses seem like a small detail, but they’re important for proper engine performance. Inspect all your engine’s hoses to ensure they’re attached properly and replace any that aren’t in good working order.
Top Off Fluids
Low transmission fluid and coolant affect your vehicle’s performance and could damage the engine. Top off these fluids this fall. You’ll also want to fill your windshield washer fluid and the antifreeze reservoir.
Inflate the Tires
You’ll experience a smoother ride and enjoy increased traction when you inflate the tires to the proper level. Find the recommended tire pressure on your vehicle’s door sticker. Tire pressure can reduce slightly in the cold, and your tire pressure sensor (TPS) can sound a false alarm.
Update Insurance 🙂
Now that your car is tuned up, update your auto insurance, too. Make sure you have adequate coverage to handle any repairs or liability that may occur during a winter storm or after an accident. With these tune-up tips, you prolong the life of your vehicle.
Life insurance gives you peace of mind as it provides financially for your loved ones, favorite charity or another purpose. September is Life Insurance Awareness Month, and it matters for several reasons.
Spouse or Life Partner
A successful marriage or partnership includes sharing life and provisions with each other. Continue this arrangement after your passing when you purchase life insurance. It provides financial resources that can pay for final expenses, debts and daily living expenses. You continue to provide for and support your loved one when you purchase enough life insurance.
Caring for your kids is one of your greatest responsibilities in life. Continue caring for them in the future with life insurance. It covers their daily living expenses, funds college or provides additional support as they grow and mature. With life insurance, your legacy lives on as you care for your children.
The home you buy often includes a 30-year mortgage, utilities, insurance, and taxes, expenses that continue even after your passing. Life insurance can pay for these expenses, allowing your family to remain in the home you shared. You minimize stress and give your family peace of mind when you purchase enough life insurance to cover home expenses.
You may save an adequate nest egg to fund your retirement. Life insurance provides an additional supplement for your surviving spouse or partner. Your loved one may reinvest the money in a retirement account or use the money to pay daily living expenses, finance a move to a retirement community or cover other expenses.
Continue to support your favorite charities after your passing. Name one or more charities as the beneficiary on your life insurance policy or donate the policy to charity. In this way, you continue to support the causes you believe in.
As a business owner, you may provide group life insurance for your employees or purchase extra life insurance coverage for key staff members. Life insurance can also fund a buy-sell agreement. For these reasons, it’s a valuable asset for your business.
Your life insurance death benefit could become part of your estate. As such, it increases the amount of money you can give to heirs and other important causes.
Every life insurance policy includes a beneficiary. Review your policies this month and verify that you have chosen the beneficiaries you want. You may change your mind, choose more than one beneficiary or purchase additional policies to provide for your chosen loved ones or charities.
Life Insurance Awareness Month in September matters to you for several reasons. Make an appointment today to discuss your life insurance policies and needs with your insurance agent as you prepare for the future.
Have a safe Labor Day Weekend!
With real estate inventory shortage in most areas in California (and the rest of the country), making an offer to buy a home requires some finesse. Most sellers agents are taking backup offers and are expecting bidding wars.
There are those that negotiate for the most reasonable deal possible and those that negotiate for the sake of negotiating. Sellers and buyers alike need to realize that the best deal possible is one where both get what they want in the deal.
This isn’t necessarily an easy point to arrive at and is often a lesson in patience. In real estate, there’s something called the X-factor – a potential home buyer spends countless hours viewing properties until they finally find their perfect home. Instead of making an offer based on what the value of the home is to them and what comparable prices are, they immediately start to ponder how much less they should offer than whatever the asking price might be.
Sorry, but there isn’t some tacit X-factor percentage that should just automatically be subtracted from all listing prices. Home owners are more often than not just as eager to sell as the buyer is to buy. If so, the price of the home is usually realistically priced and priced closely to its comps.
Still, the quest for a deal spurs many to start with a low-ball offer that’s not only unrealistic, but often insulting to the seller. If the seller is offended, negotiations usually die before they’ve ever begun. So, any serious buyer shouldn’t have some magic automatic deduction from an asking price in their head. Look at the comps in the area and determine what the value of the home is for you based on how congruent it is to the needs and desires of your family.
How a purchasing price is arrived at for both owner and buyer is a very personal process. When accepting an offer, a buyer considers how fast they need to sell the home, how bad they need to sell the home, pressures from having already purchasing a replacement home, what is owed on the home, and so forth.
On the other hand, two potential buyers can look at the very same property and come up with two very different personal values for the home, depending on how congruent it is with each of their needs, the location of the home, appeal of the home, amenities, school system, and so forth. Aside from personal value, buyers and sellers must also look at the how much a lender will lend on the home based on it appraisal.
Price isn’t the only thing negotiated during the sale of a home. There’s also time lines, what will stay and go from the home, and who will pay for any problems found upon professional inspection. The most important thing for buyers and sellers to remember is that negotiating isn’t about one side getting everything they desire; it’s a give-and-take process of compromise.
To avoid a winner-take-all complex from forming, buyers and sellers should both have a list of top priorities prior to starting any negotiations. As new issues arise during the process, priorities might need to be re-evaluated to see if the priority is truly a must have for the home to change hands.
Many problems, such as fees and repairs, often can be solved by the buyer and seller meeting in the middle. Agreeing to split the costs evenly can be a much better option than wasting time and money to negotiate for weeks. For example, a seller that will pay another mortgage payment because of the additional time spent negotiating might actually find it cheaper to pay half the cost of a minor repair and close the deal before the next note is due.
Sometimes there are legitimate deal breakers. If so, then it just wasn’t the best option for the parties involved. But, before giving up, do try mulling over the troubling aspect of the negotiation for a few days. You can move on to the other areas of the negotiation. If everything else is agreed on, then there may be more encouragement to compromise on the problematic area.
Drone operation does include cyber risks you should understand before you operate your machine.
Most drones operate via a Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connection through your smartphone or tablet. The connection may not be secure, though. A hacker can jam, intercept or terminate the connection or GPS, take over your drone and steal it or crash it into something.
The computer or mobile device you use to operate your drone could become infected with malware. It can affect the connection to your drone and cause the machine to crash and potentially cause physical or property damage.
Access Photos or Videos
A camera attached to your drone can transmit stunning photos and videos from the air. These images are usually transmitted over an unsecured FTP server which a cyber attacker could access and share. This privacy breach is your responsibility.
Ways to Protect Your Drone
Protect your drone from cyber crime when you take several steps.
Ask the seller about their cybersecurity measures.
Most drone sellers include the machine’s cybersecurity information on their website. If you can’t find it, contact the company for additional information.
Test your drone’s security.
Hire a cybersecurity professional to test your drone and ensure it’s safe from cyber threats.
Connect to your drone via radio control.
Use a secure radio control connection since Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connections rely on unencrypted data links that are vulnerable to hackers.
Subscribe to a VPN service.
A Virtual Private Network (VPN) encrypts your internet connection and protects it from hackers.
Install a seL4 operating system.
Equip your drone with new seL4 OS technology. This operating system isolates various functions on the drone, preventing a hacker from taking over your machine.
Install an anti-virus program.
Reduce viruses, malware and other threats when you install protective programs on your computer or mobile device. The most secure programs provide real-time antivirus and anti-theft protection.
Vary your flying habits.
When you fly your drone in the same flight paths and at the same time every day, you make yourself vulnerable to hackers. Instead, vary your flying habits and throw hackers off your trail. Consider flying in remote locations, too.
Purchase drone insurance. Call us.
A drone insurance policy provides you and your drone with important coverage. Look for a policy with:
- Broad, legal and premises liability coverage
- Personal injury and medical expenses
- Hull coverage
- Extra equipment coverage for any on-board cameras, tools and equipment
- Invasion of privacy
Your drone is vulnerable to several cyber risks. Know the risks and how to stop them so you can enjoy your drone and keep it secure.