Every holiday season sees a spike in cyber attacks—particularly against small businesses. Here are some ways to protect your company against digital grinches.
The festive season, unfortunately, marks a high point for cybercriminals who aim to exploit the rush and general merriness that come with it.
Attacks against small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) don’t make for big splashy news stories, but they are fast becoming cybercriminals’ preferred targets. Criminals focus on small businesses because they generally have fewer resources dedicated to digital security and often fall under the very mistaken notion that they are too small to be targeted. And the holiday season has become their prime “hunting season.”
Researchers have observed a 70% increase in attempted ransomware attacks from November and December since hackers know that this time is crucial for many companies, so they will be more willing to pay up quickly. The promotional-email-heaviness of the season clears the way for a rise in socially engineered credential-harvesting attacks, in which unprepared employees leave a virtual door to your system wide open.
Fortunately, there are some key steps that companies of all sizes can take to fortify their employees against holiday-specific cybersecurity threats.
Stay vigilant for phishing scams: During the holiday season, phishing emails that look like they're from legitimate retailers offering great deals are commonplace. Train your employees to identify such deceptive emails by looking for spelling mistakes, generic greetings, and suspicious email addresses.
Avoid public Wi-Fi: Your employees may do some of their holiday shopping during break times, and they may be tempted to use public Wi-Fi to do so. This can expose your business data to criminals if their device also holds sensitive work information. Encourage employees to use secure networks even for personal transactions.
Monitor abnormal network activity: Cybercriminals may expect that security vigilance will be lower during holiday breaks when fewer employees are in the office. Use network monitoring tools to alert you of any abnormal activities in real time.
Beware of fake charities: Cybercriminals often take advantage of people's generosity during the festive season by creating fake charities. If your business is planning on donating, make sure to verify the charity before making any contributions. Also be sure to double-check all requests to change payment information for charities—or any vendors—as this is the hallmark of wire transfer fraud.
Secure physical data: With many employees on holiday breaks, physical data breaches can be a risk. Be sure that all sensitive documents are securely locked away and that proper access control measures are in place.
Double-check delivery scams: 'Missed delivery' scams can spike during the holidays with many parcels going out. Train your staff to double-check any 'missed delivery' notices for signs of a scam before providing any details or rescheduling any supposed deliveries.
You also don’t have to take this fight on by yourself. You can tap the security expertise of Upfort and enlist the digital protections of the Upfort Shield suite of AI-powered security solutions.
Upfort Shield is designed for businesses of all sizes
The Upfort Shield solution is crafted especially for SMBs, equipping them with robust cybersecurity defenses that are typically associated with larger corporations, but without the hefty associated costs. Additionally, it boasts an easy setup process that can be completed in mere minutes, requiring minimal technical know-how, and integrating effortlessly with your existing security infrastructure.
Shield extends out layer upon layer of security protocols which can be simply activated from within your browser:
Inbox Defender: This AI-driven protective layer functions vigilantly to notify users of potential phishing emails, ransomware assaults, and fraud attempts related to money transfers. Constantly updating itself, Defender successfully detects 34% more harmful URLs than Office 365 and outperforms Google Web Risk by an impressive 160%.
Browser Firewall: This nimble, regularly updated browser extension acts as a digital security guard to warn users about potential online dangers if they stumble upon a dangerous link inadvertently.
Upfort Sentry: This component constantly scrutinizes your organization's external and internal IT assets, on the lookout for potential weaknesses, configuration errors, and other weaknesses cyber criminals could exploit.
Cyber University: Exclusively designed, employee-centered interactive sessions led by leading cybersecurity professionals for enhanced safe online practices.
Phishing simulations: This feature allows the simulation of actual cyber attacks replicating real-world cyber-crime methodologies, providing an efficient way to measure team preparedness and avert similar potential threats.
Remember, cybersecurity threats don't take holidays. By preparing your small business with the right training and tools in advance for these holiday-specific threats, you can protect your financial assets, customer trust, and brand reputation. Stay safe and enjoy a secure, cyber-threat-free holiday season!
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