The holidays are, indeed, a time for celebration, relaxation, and plenty of merrymaking. Did you know, though, that it’s also a time when the rate of cybercrime is one of the highest during the year? In fact, a 2013 study found that 64% of companies, including retailers, experience more cybercrime during this season.
If you’re scratching your head in confusion, don’t worry - we’re about to provide you with 10 quick reasons why cybercriminals are on the prowl for unsuspecting victims at this time of the year. Find out why your business might be an easy target.
While it’s only natural to take time off work during the season, being away from the office for long spells, especially if you work in a bank, allows cybercriminals to infiltrate your systems with fewer obstacles and can go undetected for longer.
In the event of an ‘IT lockdown’ during this time, make sure that your systems and hardware are well-defended.
Remote and unsecured access to the internet, especially through public WiFi, places confidential data and digital business resources at risk of data breaches.
To avoid this, ask employees to update their antivirus software and be mindful about the public networks they connect to.
With Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Christmas and New Year taking place so close to each other, the urge to shop during this approximately one-month period is overwhelming.
Using this to their advantage, cybercriminals design phishing emails offering lucrative, irresistible deals, prompting unsuspecting employees to click innocent-looking buttons. What follows, however, aren’t bargain deals but disaster.
With millions of people flocking online to do their Christmas shopping, sniffers - malicious scripts inserted onto e-commerce payment pages to extract credit card information - are more commonplace.
If you’re shopping online with the company credit card, make sure that you have 2-Factor Authentication set up to prevent your card being used for unauthorised purchases.
During this season, parties and little get-togethers in the office take place more frequently. If you’re opening doors to people who don’t belong to your office, make sure that your hardware and systems are stored behind lock and key.
For some reason, people are more likely to believe that they’re the recipients of truly fabulous rewards during the season. Perhaps it’s the spirit of giving (and receiving). Regardless, remember that if these offers sound too good to be true - and require you to divulge personal information - they probably are.
Much like the fabled Trojans, you’re opening yourself up to plenty of damage if you don’t verify some of the gift cards you find in your inbox. These pose a threat to your business, especially if your employees are in the habit of browsing shopping sites at work or if you’re in the habit of doing the same.
It’s true that during the holiday season, mustering up the energy to care about anything serious, including cybercrime, can be difficult.
If you run a business, however, remaining diligent is of the utmost essence, especially during this period. Give employees a refresher on cybersecurity before they head out for the holidays.
During the Christmas season, there’s an almost endless stream of reward and referral programmes, raffles and other similar offers. By signing up for one that’s run by a malicious hacker, you may end up compromising your password security, giving cybercriminals access to sensitive information.
While you certainly shouldn’t have to spend the holidays in knots about the state of your cybersecurity and cybercrime, taking the right precautionary measures and being vigilant is necessary.
As the holidays approach, make sure that you’ve fortified your cybersecurity defences and that your employees are trained to recognise seasonal threats and scams. With a few steps in the right direction, rest easy this holiday season.