The fact that the FIFA World Cup 2022 will take place during the Christmas holiday gives cybercriminals a good reason to put their faith in the man in the red suit. It can be a time when many organisations may relax their cybersecurity measures, leaving themselves open to attack.
The potential for catastrophic damage from unregulated Christmas cyberattacks is quite real.
As a result, awareness of the various types of cyberattacks is important in order to know how to defend against them.
The main issue with cybersecurity over Christmas is that many organisations are severely understaffed during this time. Employees are often underprepared when the cyberattack takes place, and even struggle to deal with recovering from the damages done after the cyberattack. Detection and response times are much higher in Christmas than any other time of year as a result.
However, there are certainly solutions. Having a strategy and backup in place to deal with cyberattacks is crucial.
How cyber-attackers are prevalent during the Holiday period
Cyberattacks are more prevalent since organisations just don’t have the defences in place to deal with the numerous forms of cyberattacks. In particular, ransomware attacks increased by 70% during the holiday period of 2021.
Malware and Ransomware
Malware attacks can come in a variety of forms, such as viruses, Trojan horses, and spyware. Malware attacks on a large scale are frequently used by cyberattackers. If a malware attack succeeds on one device in your organisation, they could gain access to other devices as well, putting your entire organisation at risk.
There are two main ways to defend against malware attacks. One is to ensure all your employees are on the lookout for suspicious emails containing a link or attachment. Cyber-attackers use impersonation to make the email look legitimate, and convince the user to click on their malicious link or attachment.
Another way is to have protective measures on your devices. This includes having suitable antivirus software to deal with any malware that might have been downloaded. It’s important to use modern antivirus software that constantly updates itself, allowing you to defend against evolving malware threats.
Ransomware is a lucrative business for cyber-attackers – especially during the Christmas period. Cyber-attackers realise that ransomware attacks are a means of obtaining high financial gains from organisations that aren’t prepared for Christmas cyberattacks.
Typically, ransomware involves locking an organisation out of their devices and files until they pay the cyber-attackers to regain access. Cyber-attackers use ransomware attacks more frequently during the Christmas period because they know organisations are willing to pay more in order to prevent further disruptions.
It’s important to think about exactly why ransomware attacks are more successful during the Christmas period. Organisations usually don’t have the right systems in place for ransomware attack detection. Early detection of ransomware attacks makes it much easier to prevent the cyber-attacker from gaining full access to all of your organisation’s systems.
Moreover, having suitable cybersecurity detection systems in place means that your organisation will be able to detect ransomware attacks even with a reduced number of
A massive driver of successful Christmas cyberattacks is phishing. Employees are much more prone to clicking on a malicious link or attachment, as it’s easy to completely overlook cybersecurity in general during Christmas. 3.4 billion phishing emails are sent on a daily basis.
Defending against phishing attacks may sound quite trivial, as some phishing email attacks can stand out as suspicious right away. However, this isn’t the case anymore. Phishing attacks are becoming highly advanced, and increasingly difficult to distinguish between real emails and phishing attacks.
Similar to malware, the best defence against phishing is to ensure all your employees are on their guard at all times. This includes thinking twice before clicking on any links or attachments in unknown emails or text messages. In addition, keeping all your organisation’s software up-to-date also reduces phishing risks.
Another form of cyberattack that is overlooked, especially during the Christmas season, is the use of malicious websites. As previously mentioned, employees completely forget about the common types of cyberattacks, such as phishing and harmful websites. As a result, the threat of malicious websites increases during Christmas.
One way to defend against malicious websites is to hover over the link first. This will show you the actual web address, as cyber-attackers often mask their malicious website with a URL that appears to be legitimate.
Moreover, common practices such as checking if the URL contains ‘https’ instead of just ‘http’ can help quickly identify if a website is suspicious. It’s important to remind your employees of these basic, yet crucial practices to avoid Christmas cyberattacks damaging your organisation.
In addition to raising awareness of cyberattacks over the holidays with your employees, there are various other practices you can use to better protect your organisation.
One of which includes adding multi-factor authentication to any applicable accounts and devices. This will provide an additional layer of security that makes it more difficult for cyber-attackers to bypass. Cyber-attackers have often been able to guess or steal passwords. Having multi-factor authentication helps your organisation become less susceptible to social engineering.
Since cyberattacks are more common during the Christmas season, it’s also important to have backups of your data in the case of a successful cyberattack. With cloud computing being commonly used, having a physical backup of your data could be a life-saver.
Using zero trust architecture is another means of protecting your organisation. This presents its own issues in that various devices need to be considered as well as users. However, zero trust architecture has proven to be effective, as it removes any unnecessary access over the Christmas holidays. This is vital as the number of cyberattacks increases from Christmas Eve to the days after Christmas.
How else can you defend your organisation during Christmas?
It’s important to remain vigilant against Christmas cyberattacks since your organisation might be at its most vulnerable.
Keeping up with cybersecurity awareness in your organisation even while your employees are on a break during Christmas is the first step to defending your organisation. End user security practices need to be prioritised. All devices should have firewalls active at all times, secure passwords, and antivirus software installed.
Employee shortages are a likely occurrence during the Christmas period, making it difficult to keep up with detecting and responding to any cyberattacks that can take place. Increased cyberattacks and lower numbers of employees able to handle these problems are a recipe for disaster.
Transputec offers award-winning managed cybersecurity services that ensure your organisation is protected during the busy Christmas period. Our 24/7 Security Operations Centre (SOC) provides the ability to quickly detect and respond to any incoming cyberattacks.
The SOC keeps up with the constantly evolving landscape of cybersecurity threats, and can help your organisation cover the entire incident management process.
Contact us to learn how we can help your organisation deal with fending off cyberattacks during the busy Christmas season.