As the holiday season approaches, the air fills with excitement and joy. Amid the festivities and celebrations, however, companies must remain vigilant against the rising tide of cyber threats that tend to surge during this time of the year.
Cybercriminals are well aware that the holidays provide ample opportunities to exploit potential vulnerabilities. Let’s explore the cyber security exposures that companies may face during the holidays and discuss proactive measures to safeguard against them.
- Increased online activity
The holidays witness a spike in online shopping, both by consumers and businesses. With the surge in online transactions, cybercriminals often target e-commerce platforms, exploiting vulnerabilities in payment gateways and stealing sensitive customer information. Companies must prioritize the security of their online infrastructure, ensuring robust encryption protocols and regularly updating security patches to defend against potential breaches.
The holiday season provides cybercriminals with the perfect camouflage to launch phishing attacks. Employees may be more susceptible to clicking on malicious links or opening fraudulent emails disguised as holiday greetings or promotional offers. Companies should intensify their efforts to educate employees about the dangers of phishing and reinforce the importance of verifying the authenticity of emails, especially those related to holiday promotions.
Many companies continue to implement remote work policies, and the holiday season may exacerbate security risks. Employees working from different locations might be using unsecured networks or personal devices that lack adequate security measures. It is crucial for companies to enforce strict security protocols, such as the use of virtual private networks (VPNs), multi-factor authentication (MFA), and regular security awareness training for remote employees.
- Targeted ransomware attacks
The holiday season is a prime time for cybercriminals to launch targeted ransomware attacks, taking advantage of potential vulnerabilities in a company's cybersecurity infrastructure. Companies should regularly back up critical data, conduct risk assessments, and invest in advanced threat detection systems to promptly identify and mitigate potential ransomware threats.
As companies collaborate with various vendors and third-party service providers, the attack surface for cybercriminals expands. Hackers may attempt to exploit the weaker security measures of third-party partners to gain unauthorized access to a company's network. Conducting thorough security assessments of third-party vendors, implementing stringent security requirements in contracts, and monitoring their cybersecurity practices are essential steps to minimize third-party risks.
To sum up, the holidays are a time for celebration and relaxation, but it’s no time for companies to let their guard down when it comes to cybersecurity. The evolving threat landscape requires a proactive and comprehensive approach to safeguarding sensitive information and maintaining the trust of customers and stakeholders.
By staying informed, implementing robust security measures, and fostering a culture of cybersecurity awareness, companies can navigate the holiday season with confidence and resilience against cyber threats.
LRS can help! The security team at LRS has many years experience with cyber security, and can help protect your enterprise – on premise, or in the Cloud. Contact us today with your security questions.
About the author
Larry Gant is the Director of Software Sales with LRS IT Solutions. He has over 30 years experience in Information Technology and software solutions, with a focus on automation, analytics, and security.