Holidays Cyber-attacks: Is Your Business Protected?
The holidays are the time to relax, travel and forget any possible work stress. For most businesses, the holiday season begins in October/November and lasts until January.
The holiday season is when many businesses increase their sales and bring in more website traffic, and overall, it is the busiest time of the year. With millions of people shopping online, cybercriminals see it as an excellent opportunity to attack.
Cybercriminals love the holiday season and the change in customer behaviour for the worst reasons. Every time a customer uses a card online, it is stored as data. Attackers see the holidays as a chance to infiltrate company networks to gain ransom and steal data. Cybercriminals are the real Grinch of the holidays and maybe worse.
Cyber-attacks are at an all-time high during the holidays. Every business could be a victim of a holiday cyber-attack. Therefore, every business must have an effective strategy to deal with holiday cyber-attacks this season.
How To Effectively Deal with Holiday Cyber-Attacks?
Stay Alert for Cyber Threats
There is an increase of 46% in phishing attacks during November and December. Employees get excited and distracted by the holidays. During the season, employee errors increase, and there is a higher chance of holiday cyber-attacks.
Cybercriminals send many phishing attacks, hoping distracted employees may open malicious emails and click links. The holiday phishing emails can be more convincing and holiday themed – for example, a malicious holiday sale invoice, charity scams or convincing gift cards from a partner company.
Businesses must ensure everyone, including managers and CEOs, are alert to avoid these holiday cyber-attacks. It is the perfect time to brush up on cybersecurity training and be alert for holiday phishing emails. The training and alert online behaviour can help avoid malicious malware and ensure the Grinch stays away from your network.
Purchase or Upgrade Cybersecurity Software
Around this time, many businesses began to take advantage of the holiday and plan holiday sale promotions. With holiday marketing, there is another essential companies must consider, which is cybersecurity software.
When a business brings in more customers, it also attracts more cyber criminals. Companies can avoid the increase in holiday cyber-attacks with adequate cybersecurity software (including firewall software).
Even if your company currently has the software, it might be time to upgrade and ensure it can detect and remove the increased holiday cyber threats.
High-quality cybersecurity software will help detect, warn, and remove malicious threats. It can assist employees in scanning emails, websites and protect the company networks. There is no such thing as too much cybersecurity.
Identify Possible Flaws
The best cybersecurity will still be unable to protect a business with website errors and poor protection behaviour. Even cybersecurity software has a limit to its protection. A website with flaws is like a beautifully decorated Christmas tree without a suitable base: it will come crashing down in no time. As a business, your website and data collection platform should be protected and well-coded.
It’s the business’s duty to ensure the website has no bugs or flaws. For instance, a flaw that can lead to holiday cyber-attacks is broken authentication, where the data inputted is not encrypted automatically.
During the holiday, traffic increases significantly, and customers trust businesses to protect their data. Hence, before the holiday traffic begins, all e-commerce companies must ensure their website is safe and has none to minimum flaws.
Backup Data More Often
The primary purpose of cybercrime is to steal or lock data in exchange for profit. The profit could be from the attacked company paying to unlock the data (ransomware) or sell the data on the dark web (data breach). Either way, the company will lose data and cannot continue its business process.
The best way to overcome the stress of lost data is to have a recent backup. Every company should be backing up their data weekly. However, when cyberattacks are more likely, it’s better to back up even more often. Possibly every other day to be on the safe side.
Companies can even purchase backup software that automatically backs up data onto an offline platform according to a set schedule. Even if hit by a holiday cyber-attack, your business can recover quickly with the right backup strategy.
Regularly Test Cyber Defence
The best way to know cybersecurity is strong and flaws are limited is by testing. Companies must find ways to test their cyber defence. Cybersecurity defence testing is the process of identifying security weaknesses and vulnerabilities in the website, system and network.
Businesses can invest in cyber defence testing resources that run several tests frequently and provide a detailed report. It is essential before and during the holiday season to reduce the chance of holiday cyber-attacks.
Frequent testing will ensure everything works well and make quick changes if needed. In addition, the testing ensures the business system is safe to collect data and reliable.
Limit Internal Access
When the holiday comes near, many employees take leave early, go on vacations and switch off. For many companies, the work laptop and phone are also their personal devices, which they use on holidays.
While travelling or on holiday, employees and staff may forget their cyber training and connect to unsecure WIFI. When connecting to unsecure WIFI, they might let a malicious virus on the devices. The virus can then spread to business networks as the device is also connected to the business accounts.
Due to this holiday cyber-attack risk, businesses must keep their network access limited. Even if one device is infected, the virus cannot spread throughout the entire business system. Every employee should only have access to essential files they need, especially during the holiday season.
Purchase Cyber Insurance
During the holiday season, there is a 70% increase in ransomware attacks. There is still a chance of holiday cyber-attacks even with proper cybersecurity and training. Many cyberattacks are becoming innovative and hard to detect, especially when cybercriminals use artificial intelligence. Dealing with any cyber-attack can be expensive and disrupt the business’s future.
The best way to deal with a cyber-attack is to have cyber insurance. Cyber insurance will cover cyber experts’ advice, threat removal, data recovery, informing third parties and financial loss. Cyber insurance can help businesses quickly recover from cyber-attacks with minimum financial loss.
It is a policy every business needs during the holiday and throughout the year due to the unpredictable increase in cyber-attacks. The insurance is the best contingent plan to deal with and recover from holiday cyber-attacks and then return to focusing on the holidays.
Holiday cyber-attacks could disturb any business worldwide, and your business must be prepared and have the right strategy for a cyber-safe holiday.