How to Stay Cyber Safe this Holiday Season

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and hackers are preparing a gift that will keep on giving: a cyber-attack. Cyber-attacks increase significantly during holidays and long weekends when cyber criminals know that offices are closed. Cyber criminals also take advantage of holiday deals by sending fake emails and creating fake websites during the season in hopes of hooking a user into to clicking. These types of Grinch attacks can steal the fun out of the festivities, with 86% of respondents missing holidays or weekend activities with family and friends to return to work in the wake of a cyber incident. Read on to avoid falling for common cyber security scams this holiday season.

Verify any ‘Great Deals’ emails you get.

Around the holidays, inboxes are flooded with emails containing cheap deals and money-saving coupons. It can be tempting to react quickly and click on the link to access these ‘limited offers’, but this can lead to more than just savings. Before clicking on these links, verify that the email address is from the retailer and has no spelling errors. Cyber criminals tend to change some characters in an email address to make it seem legit. Inspect links before clicking them by hovering first. If the link looks suspicious, try searching for the company directly in your browser and confirm the legitimate URL. If all else fails, navigate to the retailer’s website directly.

If a price is too good to be true, it probably is.

Cyber criminals know that people are focused on finding the best deals around the holidays and have taken advantage of this by making fake websites. These fake websites can look real and can be hard to spot until card information is stolen. To avoid falling for these scams, double check the name of the website and make sure it’s a well-known name. Including it in a quick search in your browser can reveal reports of scams as well. If the items listed on the website are insanely inexpensive, like a PlayStation 5 for $100, it is most likely a ploy to steal your information.

If the risk is worth it for the cheap Louis Vuitton bag, always use a third-party site, such as PayPal, to protect your personal information. These types of sites protect sensitive card information and prevent the seller from gaining access.

Create strong passwords for your online retail accounts.

Many online retailers will ‘remember’ card information, so it makes it easier to place and complete orders. This feature is very useful but can leave sensitive information at risk if these websites are hacked. Always make sure to create strong passwords to protect your personal information on these sites and avoid reusing them. A password manager like Last Pass or 1Password can help if you’re worried about forgetting them. Multifactor authentication (MFA) can also be implemented on some retail websites, which will only allow a purchase to be completed once the MFA is approved.

Before you leave your house for the holidays, always lock your computer.

Before leaving to go over the river and through the woods to Grandmother’s house, make sure your computer is locked and passwords are not written down nearby. Home burglaries are on the rise during the holidays when threat actors know that people aren’t home and are traveling. Most burglars are interested in selling computer hardware, but don’t make it easy for them to sell your data too.

Get Peace of Mind This Holiday Season with Entara

Entara offers complete, integrated IT and cybersecurity solutions tailored to your company’s unique needs and challenges. In addition to the managed IT and cyber security services we over as an eXtended Service Provider, our 24/7 incident response team works day, night, and holidays to help businesses recover from cyber-attacks and remediate their systems to avoid a repeat event. We employ a range of security integrations and technology services to better protect our clients’ system, network, and data. Connect with us to learn more about how we can support your organization during this holiday season. 

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