Protect your firm from cyber-attacks during the holiday season.
The holiday rush is closing in, and online shopping continues to grow as we head into the new year. As your employees shop online, they may be exposing your firm due to usage of company property. Educating employees and staff on cybersecurity best practices is crucial in the protection of sensitive data. Deloitte forecasts that e-commerce sales will rise by 11-15% year over year. As every holiday season passes, the use of online shopping increases. Unfortunately, the ease and convenience of online shopping open doors to cyber criminals taking advantage of unsuspected holiday shoppers and employees.
Four common ways cybercriminals take advantage of online shoppers:
- Cybercriminals create fake or fraudulent sites
- Cybercriminals create fake emails
- Cybercriminals intercept insecure transactions
- Cybercriminals targeting vulnerable computers
Here are some actions you can take to beef up your cybersecurity ensure during the holiday season.
Tip 1: Be cautious with emails, promos, websites
You might have heard the phrase, “If it’s too good to be true, it probably is.” This phrase still holds true when it comes to getting scammed. Think before you click. That’s another golden rule with online activity. One should always buy from a trusted or established seller’s website.If you aren’t sure about the website, do some research and never click any pop-up ads. The government is constantly sending out warnings to companies and people to watch out.
When it comes to emails, make sure the email address is valid and avoid clicking attachments. Below is an example of a fake email you may receive. Would you or your employees click?
Tip 2: Setup offline data backup
When ransomware attacks occur, the critical data is then encrypted so one cannot gain access. Ransomware continues to be one of the most common forms of cyber-attacks on people and organizations as we head into 2022. Ransomware payments reached over $400 million in 2020, the FBI reported. If one were to pay the ransom when hit by ransomware, there is no guarantee that they will get their information back. The cybercriminal may even re-encrypt the files so you will not have the key. Therefore, setting up routine offline data backups for you or your organization is crucial. Many IT partners can help with this process and management. One should also consider scheduling and testing before the holiday year ends.
Tip 3: Update, scan, patch any software
Always have the latest updates on devices, software, or applications. Whenever there is a potential vulnerability, cybercriminals can find it and have the latest updates to protect themselves and others from an open wound. Many organizations create an unpatched vulnerability plan, which usually starts with a risk prioritization.
Plans help find and reduce weak spots that you never saw.There may be a lot, so focus on the mission-critical systems and internet-facing servers first before you jump to other weak spots. Many companies utilize outsourced IT partners to support efforts in patches and other assessments. Ones like Tekscape support these services and initiatives.
Tip 4: Secure network – Don’t connect to public WIFI
Public WIFI networks can be very dangerous unless you have the proper protection in place. If you connect to your local Starbucks around the corner for work or play, understand the consequences if you are not secure.
This is especially important during the holidays due to the amount of online shopping and the convenience no matter where you are. For example, if you come across an Apple WIFI name, make sure there is an AppleStore next to you. If there isn’t, then you’re in the wrong place. If you do happen to use public WIFI, make sure you are logged out of any banking sites.
Tip 5: Don’t save information on platforms, always update passwords, and use multi-factor authentication tools
Never save information on any device, and always update passwords regularly. It is crucial to relay this information to your company or team. You will be surprised how many employees or people, in general, do not update their passwords.
A weak password is a cybercriminal’s dream come true. After updating your passwords, utilize a multi-factor authentication tool to secure your account access. On top of an email or text notification that someone is trying to access your account, the multi-factor authentication tool will block the outside force trying to enter your account.
Below is an example on how to strengthen your password.
Keeping information safe and secure should be one of the top priorities around the holiday season. Make sure your employees are aware of these simple steps to keep information safe. Even though there is a high amount of online traffic during the holidays, it is important to understand that cyber-attacks can happen anywhere, anytime, anyplace.
Tekscape is a managed IT services provider that supports companies with services and security solutions that are built to protect and support any environment. If you would like to learn the process of implementing cybersecurity solutions across your company, schedule a time with a trusted representative today.
In the meantime, download our Ransomware Checklist to see what steps need to be taken to properly secure your information from ransomware attacks.