The Christmas holidays are here, and whilst everyone is busy decorating, shopping, and celebrating, a potential data breach or cyber-attack could be the Grinch that ruins the festive mood. 

Cyber criminals are not taking a break like many of us do this time of the year, so you need to be sure you’re all set to prevent any risks.  

If you’re ready to unwrap this article, read on. 

Cyber Threats Are Coming to Town 

Well, they never really left, did they? But while your kids are eagerly waiting for Santa Claus to drop off their presents, you should be on the lookout for naughty hackers who might deliver nasty goodies. Here are some of the cyber threats you must try to prevent. 

You Better Watch Out for Phishing Attempts 

Cyber criminals might send special offer emails or greeting messages that look like they come from legitimate sources, like your bank or your favourite store. They will try to trick you into clicking on malicious links or attachments, or to give away your personal and financial information.  

Here’s what you can do to avoid falling for phishing scams:  

  • Stay updated about current threats. 
  • Always check the sender’s address, the spelling and grammar of the message, and the URL of the link before clicking on anything.  
  • If something looks suspicious, delete it and report it.  
  • Never click on any link if you are not expecting a message from the sender, if you do not know the sender, or if there is anything suspicious at all about the email.  

Phishing can also happen via SMS or messaging apps, so be similarly wary, like when trying to track a parcel delivery. Check several times before you click on tracking links. 

In two words: Be alert! 

You Better Not Cry About Ransomware 

Ransomware can happen when a cyber actor encrypts your files or locks your device, and then demands a ransom to restore your access. They may threaten to delete your files or expose your sensitive data if you don’t pay up.  

How can you protect yourself from ransomware attacks this season? 

  • Never visit suspicious websites. 
  • Do not open emails or files from unknown sources. 
  • Do not click on malicious links in emails, messaging apps, or social media. 
  • Always back up your important files to the cloud.  

In case you get infected, don’t pay the ransom – there is no guarantee that you will get your files back. Seek help from a reputable cyber security expert or your IT consultant, as well as the authorities. (Contact the 24/7 Cyber Security Hotline at 1300 CYBER1 or go to ReportCyber.) 

You Better Not Pout About Online Shopping 

Cyber criminals can easily create fake websites that look like popular online shopping sites, such as Amazon or eBay. They could lure you in with attractive deals and discounts, then steal your credit card information or infect your device with malware.  

To avoid being scammed by fake shopping sites, always shop from trusted and verified websites. Look for signs of security, such as a padlock icon in the address bar and a URL that starts with https://. Check that the URL has no slight deviations, such as an “l” disguised as a “1”. Also, use a credit card or a secure payment service like PayPal instead of a debit card or wire transfer, as they offer more protection in case of fraud. 

We’re Telling You Why: Cyber Attacks Are Not Just About Money 

Why should you strengthen your cyber security before you go on a Christmas break? When your business gets cyber attacked, it’s more than just money you’re losing. Here are some reasons to keep your business cyber safe

  • You can lose revenue due to downtime and reduced customer trust. 
  • Your business reputation and brand image can suffer. 
  • Data breaches can lead to legal liabilities and regulatory fines. 
  • Cyber-attacks incur high costs of recovery and implementation of security measures. 
  • Your business’ sensitive data and intellectual property can get exposed and cyber actors can take advantage of them. 

So, what should you do? Are there simple ways to reduce your cyber risk this season? 

So Be Good and Cyber-Safe for Business’ Sake: Some Protection Tips 

Here are some simple things you can quickly apply before you go on holidays. 

  • Secure your offices if your business will be on total shutdown for some days. You can even hide your PCs and equipment if necessary. 
  • Update your software and antivirus programs on all your devices. 
  • Make sure you have a safe data backup. Backup your important data to a secure cloud service or an external hard drive. 
  • Enable multi-factor authentication (MFA) for your online accounts and services. 
  • Use strong and unique passwords for each account and change them regularly 
  • Avoid clicking on suspicious links or attachments in emails, messages, and online. 
  • Lock your devices with a PIN, password, fingerprint, or face recognition. 
  • Turn off Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and location services when not in use. 
  • Be careful when using public Wi-Fi networks or charging stations. 

Tip: You can use a USB data blocker, which can remove the risk of infecting your phone or tablet with malware or getting your data hacked, like when using the internet in airports. 

  • Notify your bank and credit card companies about your travel plans. 
  • Review your privacy and security settings on social media platforms. 

From Now On, Your Cyber Troubles Will Be Out of Sight… 

Cyber security is important for any business all year round, but especially during the holiday season. Hackers may take advantage of the increased online activity and the reduced staff availability to launch attacks on your systems and data.  

Make sure you do your best to keep your business cyber safe. If you want to learn more about strengthening your protection, download Lucid IT’s Managed Cyber Security services datasheet and discover our tailored solutions. 

Merry Christmas and keep safe this holiday season!