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Why do Ransomware Attacks skyrocket during the winter holiday season?

Why cyberattacks increase during the holidays has a more nuanced reason than some may assume. Cybercriminals don’t take a holiday. As Christmas draws near, most of us are gearing up for some family time. But guess what? Holidays also bring a surge in cybersecurity risks for businesses. Yep, while everyone's enjoying some downtime, our IT networks are left unguarded, creating a field day for cybercriminals.

If a hacker had a choice between attacking your organisation when your IT security team is fully staffed or when it isn’t: what do you think they will choose?

Many times, organisations are overburdened, and cyberattacks during the holidays are the last thing on their minds. The current pandemic heightened the threat, which has resulted in many firms operating with significant cybersecurity flaws resulting from the rapid shift to working from home. Cybercriminals exploit these flaws to get access to systems – and vulnerabilities increase with less network supervision during the holidays. While different attackers use different techniques, social engineering, phishing, spear-phishing, malware, and ransomware are the most frequent.

Organisation leaders and individuals can better understand how these schemes work and avoid falling victim to them if they have year-round solid cybersecurity and appropriate personnel training.

Tips to prepare your organisation for holiday cyberattacks:

  • Conduct comprehensive cybersecurity awareness training: Refreshing staff on phishing dangers and cyber threats holds immense value, especially amidst holiday pressures. Remind employees to avoid clicking unfamiliar links, update systems regularly, and remain vigilant against suspicious emails or documents.

  • Develop a robust contingency plan: Update incident response strategies, fortify firewalls, encrypt data, and plan for temporary staffing. Clear delineation of responsibilities across departments minimises risks

  • Diversify system assets: Avoid a single point of failure by spreading assets across multiple accounts, providing vital time to counteract an attack’s impact.

  • Ensure up-to-date security systems: Incorporate comprehensive security measures encompassing employee training, firewall protection, anti-virus, and online content filtration tools. For industries reliant on POS systems, securing these systems is paramount to safeguard customer data.

The Imperative of year-round vigilance:

Cybercriminals operate relentlessly, targeting vulnerabilities through social engineering, phishing emails, or fraudulent websites.

Maintaining cybersecurity vigilance year-round is pivotal. The tips outlined can aid in mitigating holiday cyber threats, yet consulting an experienced service provider like Delta 365 can further refine and execute a tailored cybersecurity plan for your organisation.

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