The holiday season is precariously titled hacker season as cybersecurity threats rise during the holidays. Christmas is right around the curb but beneath the celebrations, cybercriminals lurk to prey on businesses.
Holiday ransomware is a major issue in the USA with officials putting out frequent warnings before and during holidays. On the fourth of July holidays more than 1,500 businesses were compromised by hackers when Kaseya, an IT company, was struck by a ransomware attack. Similarly, many businesses have had their supply chains crippled after being hit by ransomware on various holidays like Labor Day, Memorial Day, Mother’s Day, and Thanksgiving. Christmas and New Year are also prime targets for hackers.
Although cybersecurity threats are evolving throughout the year, demanding even more vigilance and cyber hygiene on the part of organizations. Hackers especially focus their attacks during the holiday season, owing to reduced security while everyone is distracted by the festivities.
Online activities also ramp up due to holiday sales and discounts. Deloitte’s annual holiday retail forecast predicts that e-commerce is projected to grow at a rate of 11-15% every year. This high volume of digital transactions offers more openings for hackers to breach security. All these factors contribute to a spike in hacker activity during the holiday season.
5 Cybersecurity Tips for the Holiday Season
Tip 1: Backup your data
Having backup is a primary safety measure to avoid the loss of valuable data. Keep offline reserves of data that are not accessible to hackers, unlike networked data.
Tip 2: Be cautious of emails
Phishing frauds and ransomware can come embedded in holiday greetings and offers under the guise of reputed vendors and banks. Some can be indistinguishable from authentic ones but an effective way of identifying malicious emails is to hover over links to check for suspicious domain names.
Tip 3: Get dedicated IT security
Although most IT staff are away on holidays it is necessary to have a dedicated staff vigilantly watch over critical data assets. You can outsource your cybersecurity to dedicated incident response teams that operate during holidays to make sure your system is safe and operational.
Tip 4: Stay updated on software
Cyber threats keep expanding year-by-year as hackers discover new flaws in old systems. This is why it is necessary to update and patch software to the latest versions that do not have the vulnerabilities of outdated software.
Tip 5: Track and manage access
Track who, what, when, and where user access has been granted to your network using identity and access management (IAM). Control the level of access to employees and maintain data logs with IAM powered by artificial intelligence that can easily handle such complex processes.
Threats are Year-Round and Ever-Evolving
Although more hacker activity is seen during the holidays, businesses need to be secure year-round. A multi-layered security approach based on the testing, auditing, and expert consulting from cybersecurity professionals is a great way to be aware and stay one step ahead of malicious actors.
You can check out our podcast on the complete overview of organizational cybersecurity here to discover more on how to safeguard your business with cybersecurity.