587-597-5478 heather@thinkinsure.ca
Cyber Crime – What is it?

Cyber Crime – What is it?

Breaches, DDo’s, Phishing, Whaling, Malware, Porting, Trikbots, Ransomware and Zoombombing.  What do these words have in common?

Yes! These are all Cyber Crimes and every business owner who owns a computer and uses email or has a website is a target.

And nowadays we are all more exposed than ever.  The majority of business owners and employees are working from home now.  You can bet that cyber criminals are also stepping up their game as security working from home is usually not as effective.

The FBI recently announced that cyber crime has quadrupled compared to the months before the COVID 19 pandemic.


Examples of Cyber Risks

  • Employee Error – losing a USB key, failing to secure passwords. If you do hard drive back-ups and the back-up is lost or stolen that’s a huge potential privacy breach that could cost thousands of dollars.
  • Malicious Hackers – These hackers attempt to shut companies down – steal data or money. Hackers have become an enterprise with HR, Research & Development and customer service departments
  • Ransomware/Extortion – This is a hack where data is stolen or made inaccessible and a demand is made, usually for cash (bitcoin). Any business depending on their online presence to sell their products is at risk.
  • Breach – any time sensitive, protected or confidential data has potentially been viewed, stolen or used by an individual or entity without authorization.
  • DDos – Distributed Denial of Service. An attack that attempts to render an online service unavailable by overwhelming it with traffic from multiple sources.
  • Malware – Code with malicious intent that typically steals data or destroys something on the computer. Installed malware on a corporations’ computer can work silently in the background and corrupt months or years worth of data.
  • Phishing – an attempt to obtain sensitive information such as usernames, passwords, and credit card details by masquerading as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication.
  • Threat Agent – An individual or group that can manifest a threat. This may not even be intentional.  It could simply involve an inept computer operator who trashes a batch job by typing the wrong command.
  • Whaling – An attack that typically involves a hacker masquerading as a senior executive asking an employee to transfer money.
  • Porting – (SIM porting) someone impersonating someone requests a mobile provider “port” or move his number to a new SIM card on a different device. Criminals steal personal information via mobile phones in order to gain access to bank accounts, apply for credit in your good name, or impersonate you to defraud your entire contact list.

The list goes on and changes as new threats are created and discovered.  It’s a moving target.

If you are interested in learning more, you can peruse some of these articles that I have include for you at the end of this blog.

Stay tuned for the next blog where I will share some tips from the experts on some of the ways you can protect yourself.

Thanks for following my videos and blogs. For me, it’s not just about protecting consumers by providing them with insurance options.  Its more about education and communication that helps to identify, analyze, evaluate, and treat risk – be it an insurance product or other method of avoiding, reducing, sharing, or retaining the risk.

Remember – “We make a living by what we get; we make a life by what we give”

Take care, stay safe and be well.


In the News

April 1, 2020 Cyber-Attacks up 37% Over the Past Month as Covid 19 Bites


Oct 10/19 Cybersecurity breach at TransUnion – 37,000 Canadians compromised.  Occurred in June/July – not discovered until August


Oct 8/19 Survey showed that 88% of organizations participating had suffered one or more breaches in past twelve months due to external cyber attacks.


Oct 3/19- Just a name or birthday can be worth up to $1.50 on the black market. A scanned passport or driver’s license can command up to $35, and a full ID package (name, address, social insurance number, e-mail address and bank account number) can go for up to $100.


Good News

Good News

We are indeed in challenging times and if you spend a lot of time watching the news, it can get quite depressing.

So I decided to see if I could find a silver lining.  Most of you probably know that I am the eternal optimist.  I thought I would share some of my findings. These are from Harvard Medical School.

  • Estimates now suggest that 99% of people infected will recover.
  • The number of new cases are falling where the outbreak began
  • We have the internet. Many of us can work from home.  Kids have access to education.  Facetime is my new best friend.  And you can still have happy hour with your friends.


Here’s some other’s I found

  • Many high-net-worth individuals are making huge donations to help in the fight. Here are just some of them.  Kylie Jenner $1M, Versace 200 Million Pounds, Rihanna $5M
  • In New York 6000 mental health professionals signed up to volunteer for a program to help support the city’s mental health – residents can have a free virtual session
  • Netflix has donated $1M Pounds to the British Film Institute and others to help provide short term relief to the film crews not out of work
  • Kids can still do Phys-ed Programs with Joe Wicks the Body Coach who is streaming 30-minute classes
  • The waters in Venice are cleaner – more swans and fish are being spotted
  • Many Alcohol companies and perfume manufacturers all over North America have switched to making hand sanitizer
  • A local Grocer in Edmonton – Belmont Sobeys launched the Golden Shopping Hour for seniors which has spread countrywide.
  • They have also started a program called Heroes for Hunger and have reached out to principals in the schools to find out who might be needing additional help. They are raising money and providing Sobey’s Gift Cards
  • Scientists are reporting a reduction in CO2 emissions. Hopefully we can learn from this going forward.

Locally I’m seeing increased volunteerism, people are reaching out to help out as much as possible.  I see kids and parents out going to family walks.  We may not be able to interact in person however personal interactions by phone, facetime are increasing.

We will get through this and hopefully will take the lessons we’ve learned, the positive changes we’ve made going forward.

To all of you stay safe, be well and smile.  That in itself has been proven to increase your mood.  Heather Cournoyer – signing off till next time.



These are challenging times for both individuals and business owners.  Many of my business owners have been reaching out for information on how their insurance policy might respond.  Here are answers to the most commonly-asked questions.


Does my Business Interruption coverage provide me for loss of income because of COVID19?

Sadly, the short answer is no.

Business Interruption insurance is designed as an add on to a property insurance policy.  In order for the coverage to be triggered, there has to be a physical loss to the property that is covered in the policy.  The business interruption coverage applies during the period of restoration.  That’s the key word – no damage – no restoration period.

Remember there are common exclusions on a property policy include such events as earthquakes, smog, pollution, nuclear hazard, war, wear and tear, terrorism, intentional illegal acts or loss due to faulty design.


If I am sued as a result of COVID 19, will my General Liability Insurance respond?

As with property insurance, there are exclusions in the Commercial General Liability policy.  For instance, pollution is one of those standard exclusions we can expect that insurers will contend that the virus would fall within that exclusion.    It is possible that certain suits may be initiated however it does fall to the plaintiff to prove negligence.  As always, refer to your policy wording and talk to your broker with specific questions.


What happens if I’m working from home? Do I have insurance protection?

Your personal insurance policy provides you with coverage for liability insurance only.  You may have coverage for a limited amount of property like a computer, product samples etc. under your policy.  Check with your insurance provider and also check with your employer to ensure that the commercial policy will extend to protect you in the event that something might happen arising from your work from home.


I have been forced to shut down my business and my premiums are due.  What can I do?

The insurers recognize that is an unprecedented time and many policyholders will be struggling financially.  Contact your broker to see what specific arrangements might be available for you.


What happens if I have a claim that is covered?

Most insurers already have 24/7 claims reporting.  Underwriters and claims adjusters remain available as before.  If you have a claim contact your broker or insurer directly and every effort is being made to ensure continued service.


If my business is closed, will my buildings, stock and equipment still be insured?

The normal vacancy clause allows for up to 30-days vacancy.  However, the terms vacant and unoccupied may have different meanings.  Please review your policy wording or check with your broker to see if you need an extension of coverage.