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Cyberattacks Don’t Stop, Even Over the Holiday Break

Who doesn’t love the holidays? For almost everyone the holidays are a time were you get to relax and see family and friends. From eating too much turkey on Thanksgiving to the built up excitement of Christmas to the New Year approaching just days after, who really has time to think about cyberattacks. Don’t cybercriminals take a break over the holidays too? Well unfortunately cybercriminals really only care about one thing, getting access to your data with the hopes of it coming with a reward, potentially being a large sum of money. With many people not keeping their guard up during the holiday season and online shopping becoming increasingly irresistible, every cybercriminal’s eyes widen as they see the perfect opportunity to launch their attacks. 2023 has been filled with attention grabbing cyberattack headlines and in the eyes of a cybercriminal the holiday season is perfect to add to those headlines. As 2024 is approaching and the calendar page is getting ready to turn to the new year, we all have to be on high alert as cybercriminals tend to be at their peak during the holiday months unleashing some brutal cyberattacks. It’s time to finish out this year strong and commit ourselves to safeguarding everyone against cybercrime by putting the right practical steps in place.

What Cyberattacks to Look out for During the Holiday Season

With the holidays approaching soon, attackers are the last people you want to see. They tend to not have soft spots for anyone, especially huge corporations. Attackers like too move in when companies are at their weakest or least expecting it, which is mainly around the holidays since most people are out of the office. As a result, the holiday season leaves you and your organization at a higher risk of a cyberattack. With Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years right around the corner we must remain vigilant and on guard to protect against all the different types of cyberattacks. Here are three of the most common cybersecurity risks during the holiday season:

  1. Ransomware

Ransomware has become one of the most threatening cyberattacks an organization can face. With the intensified threats continuing to become more and more successful the chances of your organization falling victim to ransomware dramatically increases. Malicious actors tend to entice multiple users to click on suspicious links to infect your organization leaving no room for error. Here are a few different things to take into consideration to protect yourself against ransomware:

  • Phishing email

A common and one of the most easiest ways that a cybercriminal can get access to your network is using what almost every cybersecurity professional dislikes, phishing emails. Cybercriminals have become experts in crafting phishing emails to make them look legit leaving everyone questioning whether or not this email has actually come from someone in their organization. Now with AI (WormGPT and FraudGPT, criminals can write very convincing emails.  Without having the right security measures in place an end user who isn’t familiar with cybersecurity best practices will more than likely click on the malicious link leaving your organization in a scramble to find a quick fix. With the holidays approaching quickly users tend to be not as careful, only upping the chances of your company falling victim to a cyberattack. Here are the a few different steps that your organization can do to stay safe from phishing attacks:

  • Recognize the signs of phishing.
  • Don’t respond to a phishing email.
  • Don’t open suspicious emails.
  • Don’t click on suspicious links or attachments in emails.
  • Don’t send financial information through email.
  • Don’t click on pop-up ads.
  • Use spam and phishing filters.
  • Install Endpoint Detection & Response software with Next Gen Antivirus
  • Breached passwords

Another common way malicious actors attempt to access your networks is obtaining your credentials. For cybercriminals gaining access to employee credentials happens more often than not, making it rather easy and requiring minimal effort which leads to a dangerous situation. No matter how many times your IT team can tell you what makes a good password and what it actually consists of many of us still tend too use the same basic password information and use it for multiple things simply because it’s easier to remember. Here are six different steps you can take to reduce the risk of a malicious actor releasing havoc on your organization.

  1. Use Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)
  2. Perform a comprehensive internal and external Penetration Test
  3. Enforce and Manage Strong Passwords (never reuse any password)
  4. Monitor Activity using a Co-Managed SIEM
  5. Implement a Layered Defense for a Strong Security Posture
  6. Perform Consistent Cyber Trainings and Reviews

Stay Safe this Holiday Season

Cyberattacks are a serious threat to any individual and their business, especially during the holiday season. Hackers may take advantage of the increased online activity, the festive mood, and the lower security awareness to launch their malicious attacks. Some of the most common types of cyberattacks during the holidays are phishing, ransomware and breached passwords. These attacks can result in data breaches, financial losses, identity theft, and reputational damage. Remember, cybersecurity is not only a technical issue, but also a human one. You are the first and last line of defense against cybercriminals. Stay safe and happy holidays from your cybersecurity friends over at All Lines Technology!