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Why Do Cyber Crimes Increase Around the Holidays?

Tis the season for cyberattacks! While hard workers use their PTO to go on vacations and spend time with family and friends, cyber criminals are working overtime to deliver cyberattacks. In 2021, there was a 30% increase in ransomware attacks and a 70% increase in attempted ransomware attacks during the holiday season, compared to the monthly average. So why the spike in attacks and what can you do to avoid a cyberattack this holiday season?

IT Professionals are out of office

The holiday season is the most popular time for people to take time off, including IT professionals. Organizations who manage their IT in-house may have fewer people on staff or no one on call monitoring their endpoint detection and response solution. Because of this, they are not prepared to respond quickly to alerts that may indicate a threat actor is trying to access their environment or contain an in-progress cyber-attack during the holiday season. Delayed response times give cyber criminals more time to amplify their impact on your environment, which could lead to a full system down event.

Holiday-themed phishing emails increase and employees are distracted

Cyber criminals know that people have their eyes out for one thing during the holiday season: money saving deals. Most scams during the holiday season are sent via email, better known as phishing emails. Cyber criminals will create fake emails with deals that are too good to be true but trick consumers into clicking on them. Once the emails are clicked on, dangerous malware is spread without the user even knowing.

During the holidays, increased shopping and year-end bonus spending contribute to heightened transactions and organizational activity. Amidst the chaos of planning for the upcoming year, managing system monitoring and resources becomes challenging, providing cybercriminals with opportunities to exploit vulnerabilities.

Season of giving but confirm who you’re donating to

It’s the season of giving and multiple charities take advantage of this time by creating special campaigns for Giving Tuesday, asking for additional donations and getting the word out about their causes. Unfortunately, the altruistic are also a top target for online scammers, with charity and disaster fraud increasing during times of international conflict. A recent example of this was highlighted by a warning issued from the FBI earlier in November, warning people of the on-going threat of fake charity scams.

How to protect your business this holiday season

Prepare for the worst

It’s not a matter of if a cyberattack is going to happen, but instead a matter of when. Cyber criminals attack at the most inconvenient times, like when they know their victims are away from their desks or distracted during the upcoming holiday season. It’s crucial now more than ever to have a plan in place for when this happens to your business.

It can be hard to know where to start when making such a disaster plan, but your business doesn’t have to start from scratch. Consider an incident response retainer which, when in place, guarantees instantaneous access to a best-in-class cybersecurity incident response team when you need it most. A successful attack can cause costly downtime and data loss, as well as opening the potential for lawsuits. Educate stakeholders on the incident response plan and ensure that all members know their role in the event of a cyberattack. Having a plan in place and a team ready to go within minutes allows your business to respond and recover quickly, saving money and protecting valuable data.

Ensure systems are up to date

It’s crucial to guarantee that all business-critical systems are regularly backed up and possess the capability for swift restoration in the event of a ransomware incident. Regularly backing up your data ensures that even if your system is compromised, critical information can still be recovered. The meticulous upkeep of backups can be the difference between experiencing mere hours or days of downtime, emphasizing the pivotal role they play in mitigating the impact of cyber threats. Regularly test the restoration process to ensure its effectiveness and reliability in real-world scenarios.

Outsource your cybersecurity

Outsourced cybersecurity is the practice of hiring a third-party provider to manage your company’s security needs. These third-party providers are commonly referred to as managed security service providers (MSSP).

When your cybersecurity is outsourced to another company, you leave your business’ protection in the hands of the experts who provide their advanced knowledge, time, and resources to protect your business from cyber-attacks 24x7x365. Just as you are the expert in your industry, rely on cybersecurity experts to fully protect all aspects of your organization. Providers, like Entara, offer managed clients complete and full coverage on holidays so businesses don’t have to stress or worry about who is watching their back while they’re spending time with loved ones.

Implement a cloud email security solution

Majority of data resides in the cloud, encompassing emails, chat messages, and cloud storage, which are all susceptible to phishing and malware threats. To enhance security, consider adopting an email and collaboration cloud protection tool.

This tool diligently scans emails, messages, and files, actively identifying malicious or suspicious activities before they can reach users. Leveraging multi-layered protections, these tools can recognize potential threats, safeguarding users from phishing attempts. Certain solutions go beyond, offering data loss protection features, fortifying your ability to uphold data integrity and prevent unauthorized access.

Plan for the unpredictable this holiday season

The only surprise you receive this holiday season should be wrapped in paper, not lurking in your inbox. Entara offers complete, integrated IT and cybersecurity solutions tailored to your company’s unique needs and challenges. In addition to the managed IT and cybersecurity services we offer as an eXtended Service Provider, our 24/7 incident response team works day, night, and holidays to help businesses recover from cyberattacks 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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