DIFS promotes Cyber Security Awareness Month to help consumers and businesses stay protected
Media Contact: Laura Hall, 517-290-3779, DIFS-Press@michigan.gov
Consumer helpline: 877-999-6442, Michigan.gov/DIFS complaints
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 8, 2021
(LANSING, MICH) October is Cyber Security Awareness Month and the Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services (DIFS) encourages consumers and businesses to take steps to protect themselves and their personal information from cyber attacks.
“There are steps we all need to take to make sure we protect our financial and insurance information,” said DIFS Director Anita Fox. “I encourage everyone to set aside time this month to learn more about how to protect their personal information and take steps to establish sound cybersecurity measures.”
Many believe that most cybersecurity breaches are the work of sophisticated hackers and foreign agents targeting the elderly or those less tech-savvy. What people don’t know is that the most successful cyber attacks happen because of disregarding well-established cybersecurity practices.
Here are some initial steps consumers can take to protect themselves and their personal information online:
- Do not access personal or financial information, such as bank accounts, online sales accounts, or medical records when using a public Wi-Fi network. Connect to the Internet only through secure, password-protected networks.
- Password protect all user accounts and devices that connect to the Internet. Do not use the same password twice. Choose a password that means something to you and only to you. Use a passphrase, like “Michiganhas1awesomesunsetperday!” to protect your accounts.
- Multi-factor authentication provides additional security by requiring an additional step beyond entering a password to log into your account, such as a scan of your fingerprint, retina, or face on a mobile device, a password via an authenticator application or a security key sent by SMS message or e-mail.
- Be on the lookout for phishing emails – know the sender and hover over the name to see the address. Confirm that the links in the email are legitimate. Don’t click on links or pop-ups, open attachments, or reply to emails from strangers. Never use your work email for personal communications.
- Never give out personal / private information such as account numbers or passwords over the phone. Call your financial institution directly if you have any questions; your financial institution will never call you to ask for your passwords or your account information.
DIFS also takes steps to ensure sound cybersecurity practices in the industries it regulates to support its mission of ensuring safe and secure insurance and financial services for Michiganders. The Department recently implemented new data security requirements for insurers and licensed producers under Michigan’s Insurance Data Security Act, which requires insurance licensees to establish information security programs and to inform the DIFS of a cybersecurity event involving non-public information. To further support regulated entities, DIFS has hired an IT resources specialist, Jake Martin, who will be responsible for raising awareness and reducing the impact of IT and cyber risks in the financial services and insurance industries.
DIFS can help consumers with questions or disputes that cannot be resolved directly with their insurers or financial institutions. Contact DIFS Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 877-999-6442, or file a complaint at Michigan.gov/DIFScomplaints.
The mission of the Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services is to ensure access to safe and secure insurance and financial services fundamental to the opportunity, safety and success of Michigan residents, while promoting the economic growth and sustainability in both sectors. In addition, the Department provides consumer protection, awareness, financial literacy, and education services to Michigan residents. For more information, visit Michigan.gov/DIFS or follow the ministry on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn.