Holiday Season Cybersecurity Threat OverviewAdarsh Rai
Threats Levels Increased During The Holiday Season
Businesses and institutions are vulnerable to a range of time consuming and expensive cyberattacks during the course of the year. However during the Christmas and New Year breaks, Cybercriminals are keen to seize this opportunity due to a number of factors, such as low number of employees and lax security measures.
Cybercrime is a liability throughout the year, but it is a significant concern over the holidays.
When browsing the web or getting emails with Christmas discounts over the season, the majority of end users do not consider cybersecurity. Festive promotions and discounts may be advertised in emails or on websites, but with less end-user attention and less cross inspection, attackers employing phishing schemes or harmful malware adverts could have the perfect opportunity.
The FBI and Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency issued a general notice earlier this year urging enhanced awareness of ransomware attacks around the holidays.
Holiday Season Cybersecurity Threats
With the approaching holidays in the United States and throughout the world, companies must stay watchful to safeguard against a variety of dangers. Take a look at some of the most frequent cybersecurity threats this Holiday season:
Even when employees are available, holiday preparedness frequently falls short of typical expectations. Since the Christmas season is often a busy time for businesses, employees may be distracted by other promotional tasks. Employees may ignore symptoms of a cyberattack or conduct poor cyber hygiene in their haste to complete other responsibilities.
Human error is responsible for 95% of all data breaches, and all these mistakes are more frequent when employees are preoccupied. As a result, hackers have a better chance of succeeding if they strike during peak periods of vacations. Many of the most significant cyberattacks, including the Colonial Pipeline Assault, have occurred around major holidays.
Increased Amount of Valuable Data
Due to the abundance of data available, attacks also increase around the holidays. In terms of shopping surges, businesses have more client data on hand, therefore a successful assault would provide more benefits. Nearly 24% of retailers experienced an attack during the holiday season of 2021.
Cybersecurity is critical during online Christmas shopping because an inflow of customers makes a firm a more appealing target. With e-commerce accounting for a growing part of retail sales, this trend is expected to continue.
Strained Organization Networks
As a company’s revenue grows, so does the demand on its network. This increase in traffic may render them more vulnerable to a cyberattack, and hackers are aware of this. During busy moments, a hacker may go undiscovered, or new vulnerabilities may emerge amid sluggish, pressured networks.
Companies may fail to plan for this surge of traffic, leading their networks to lag as consumption surges. When this occurs, distributed denial of service (DDoS) assaults may become easier to carry out.
Human susceptibility to social engineering attacks is another problem in holiday shopping cybersecurity. Phishing attacks, in particular, can be quite effective during these periods since they are more difficult to detect. It’s simpler to conceal a phishing email when consumers are already overwhelmed with unwanted emails and ads.
Attacks like this are extremely profitable, with some cases costing $47 million, making them an ideal choice for hackers. Senior level employees who are distracted and busy over the holidays are also ideal targets.
“Based on what we’ve seen in previous years, holidays are consistent target periods for cyber-attackers. Interestingly, the largest rise in attempted ransomware attacks is between Christmas and New Year’s when attackers know there will be fewer eyeballs on screens defending against threats,” – Justin Fier, Director of Cyber Intelligence and Analytics, Darktrace.
Phishing isn’t the only sort of cyberattack that thrives over the holidays. Ransomware is on the rise, with 89% of firms suffering these assaults surrounding festivities in 2021. Part of this is due to the overall increase in cyberattacks, but pressured businesses may be more likely to pay ransoms, encouraging this behavior.
Organizations could lack the time or resources to retrieve stolen files during the hectic Christmas season. Investing a ransom to get them returned faster may appear more enticing, increasing the success of these attempts. Cybercriminals use the constrained opportunity to earn a quick reward.
Evolve Before Your Threats Do
Here are a few preventative measures that can be utilized by organizations to ensure protection during this hectic holiday period:
- Data Awareness
Consider having your IT personnel evaluate the danger of each device that may access your data to lessen the likelihood of a security breach. Before allowing them admission onto the property, make sure they inspect even their personal tablets and smartphones.
- Limit Network and Infrastructure Access
Users who have access should only be able to see the information necessary for their tasks, and access to sensitive and vital data should continue to be granted on a need-to-know basis.
- Security Awareness Training
Security awareness training provides employees with the knowledge they need to make wise decisions and exercise appropriate caution when handling data.
- Strong Password Strategy
A strong password will not stop attackers from attempting to gain access, but it will slow them down and discourage them. Passwords that are difficult to guess are considered strong.
- Backup & Recovery
Everything, including databases, human resource files, payable accounts, electronic spreadsheets, processing papers, and financial records, should be backed up so that it may be recovered promptly if necessary.
Outsourcing cybersecurity services and using sophisticated protection and monitoring technology can help ensure that your security strategy is sound and that your customers’ data is safe, while allowing your own personnel to concentrate on other business matters.
Our team at Caplock Security is made up of devoted security professionals with years of experience in a variety of cybersecurity fields. Several of our clients have already used our assistance to improve their security standards, compliance requirements, and lower their risk. Our professionals can assist you in locating your security vulnerabilities and offer advice on how to fix them effectively.