Four key cybersecurity considerations leading up to the holidays

The holidays are an especially profitable period for cybercriminals due to the increase in online activity at this time. Businesses without effective security measures in place could be exposed to criminal activity ranging from fraud and theft to sabotage.

Cybercrime is often financially-motivated and hackers can gain access to lucrative targets with little effort. Cybercriminals can compromise payment card information, your client data, cash, and other financial transactions.

You need to know what your organisation is up against to ensure you have the right security tools and response plans in place to combat cybercrime.

At Aleron, we have identified four key considerations to help protect your business over the holidays:

  1. Beware of holiday phishing

Over the holidays, the number of malicious emails that distribute malware or contain links to compromised websites increases. Many organisations will throw an end-of-year party, inviting clients and customers via email, requesting them to complete a form to confirm their attendance. Phishing schemes can include real-looking but fake invitations to trick people into providing their details, which can then be used to access the company network, compromising the details of organisations and their clients.

Make sure all your employees are aware of the risk of phishing emails and avoid using email-based forms. Employees can be advised to delete any email that asks them to fill in a form, effectively protecting the organisation from these phishing schemes.

  1. Protect endpoints and servers

Often, cybercriminals insert malware into a network where it can lie dormant until it’s activated. Make sure to scan your network environments for threats that may have been lurking for several months before surfacing as a malicious attack during the holidays. Protecting servers with fundamental security tools such as antivirus, and running regular patches and updates can prevent attacks and other complex advanced threats from seizing your data and other important files.

  1. Develop firm passwords

Password hacking remains a key weapon in the cybercriminal’s arsenal because too many people use weak passwords or the business doesn’t protect services and devices at all. Make sure you educate employees to manage passwords with care and encourage them to use longer passwords. The minimum length should ideally be 12 to 14 characters with a combination of numbers and special characters. Where possible, use multi-factor authentication. Strengthening access this way can help prevent cybercriminals from accessing your network. 

  1. Monitor Wi-Fi hotspots

 Many employees connect to the company Wi-Fi to access social media accounts, personal email, and even their bank accounts. However, most employees don’t adopt any defensive measures, and develop bad habits such as sharing passwords and details, and not logging off after using a site or service. Make sure to remind employees that almost every Wi-Fi hotspot is insecure, including the connection in the office.

Remember that cybercriminals aren’t taking holidays. In fact, this is a perfect time of year to strike. Make sure you have a comprehensive IT security checklist to update firewalls, back up sensitive data, and inform employees of proper IT protocols.

If you’re not sure how to implement the right security solutions for your business, contact Aleron today.