Holiday Season Is Upon Us – A Cyber Security Perspective

It’s that time of year again, Family, friends, and gifts; oh my! But there is a downside to every good. Cyber attackers waiting to prey on that joy, enthusiastic human eagerness.

According to Carbon Black’s (a cybersecurity company) 2018 holiday report, totaling more than 16 million endpoints – reveals that global organizations encountered a 57.5% increase in attempted cyberattacks during the 2017 holiday shopping season. During a similar time period in 2016, attempted cyberattacks increased above normal levels by 20.5%.

But why?

During holiday season, kicking off from Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Cyber Monday (Fun fact: it’s something retailers came up with, to encourage people to shop online), Christmas and New Year, there are numerous number of retailers who go on promotions, offers and so on. This very fact increases online shopping and induces high volume of transactions, which attract cyber criminals who are on a scavenger hunt for sensitive user information and anything that’s of value. This is how it has always been and will continue to grow more as cybercriminals evolve.

Majority of these attempted holiday-related cyberattacks are usually the result of being non-vigilant.

How do we stay safe during this festive season? 

  • Always the number one in the list – Passwords. Make sure your passwords are changed frequently and do not use the same password everywhere. This will help you mitigate other accounts, in case one of them encounters a breach.
  • Time to click update on every app, software, hardware you possess. Not that it’s the only time to do so. It is wise to make sure mobile apps, anti-virus software, browsers are all up to date to avoid any vulnerability-based breach.
  • No matter how tempted you are, do not use public Wi-Fi. They lack security that would make it easy for hackers to penetrate. Worst case scenario, try and use a paid-VPN service like ExpressVPN to avoid preying eyes. Read this article about what you are risking when connecting to public Wi-Fi
  • Emails – The doorway to cyber-heaven, the easiest way to get hands on your sensitive information. Be mindful about any promotions, deals or gift card that drops in your Inbox! Watch out for those unnoticeable spelling errors, grammatical errors, unusual email address etc. Anything that is too good to be true, is probably not true.

o   Give this article a read before trying to open an attachment in the email or click any link!

  • Keep an eye on that bank statement of yours, often than usual. Being on holidays, it might seem like a silly thing to do, but take time and check for suspicious transactions or any inaccuracies. Found something? Contact your bank immediately and report it.

Are you going to let cybercriminals hack away your pieces of turkey this Thanksgiving?

Make sure to use these as guidelines to help you from becoming a victim during this cyber-hunting season.

Be vigilant, stay safe and enjoy the holidays!