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Why Your Business Is More Susceptible to Attack Over the Festive Season

 

Often, the festive season sees a good majority of businesses slowing down their operations, with staff getting into the festive spirit early. It is certainly not a time that many will be thinking about the risks of cyber attacks. Unfortunately however, to our dismay, Christmas and the festive period is a time that sees a peak in cyber attacks. With businesses particularly vulnerable at this time, cyber attacks can be detrimental, especially to those companies that rely heavily on their website for seasonal sales. Which for many is the best time for business revenue and profitably. 

When it comes to cyber attacks over the festive season, there are specific things that businesses should be aware of. Whether this is the different types of attacks used by cyber criminals or how to protect your business at such a vulnerable time. In our latest blog we are divulging the details of seasonal cyber attacks and offering our cyber security expertise to provide you with the relevant information to arm yourself with the right protection against said attacks. 

 

Rates of cyber attacks over the festive season 

According to statistics, the festive season sees a 30% rise in the average number of ransomware attacks compared to any other time of the year. With this being noted as a global trend and not just localised to specific countries or regions. Also, an alternative source found that it took businesses longer to assess the scope, stop the breach and recover after the ransomware attack if it happened over a holiday period or weekend. Unfortunately, 88% of respondents in addition reported missing a holiday or weekend celebration due to an attack.  

You might have already seen multiple well-known brands being attacked around this festive season, such as Staples who were unable to process or deliver online orders and had their customer services/communications also affected around the Black Friday sales. Another example is the DP World (logistics company) hack where there were concerns around the impact of Australian imports/exports for the Christmas period. 

These rates are alarming and certainly indicate the need for businesses to be extra vigilant during the holidays. While it’s certainly tempting to take a break and move your focus away from such operations, cyber security is imperative all year round and the ball cannot be dropped any time of year. 

 

4 reasons why cyber attacks occur over the Christmas holidays

There are a number of reasons to explain why cyber attacks increase over the festive season, including: 

  • Increased traffic and activity: It is not surprising that during this season, many businesses will experience a spike in traffic and activity. As more and more consumers are browsing the internet for products and services, doing more shopping and online banking. With this increased traffic and without the right technology, it can be hard for businesses and consumers to stay vigilant. 
  • Strained resources: Depending on the industry, a rise in seasonal workload can leave staff overworked. Plus, with employees taking time off for the holidays, this can make it more difficult for teams to respond to security incidents quickly and effectively. 
  • Employee distractions: Employees may be more distracted during the Christmas period, as they are focused on their personal lives and holiday preparations. This can make them more likely to make mistakes that could lead to a cyber attack.
  • Cyber criminals take advantage of the holiday spirit: Cyber criminals know that many people are more trusting and generous during the festive period. They may use this to their advantage by launching phishing attacks or other scams, manipulating vulnerable customers as well as employees within a company.

 

Types of cyber attacks that businesses may be vulnerable to

While your business should be vigilant to all types of attacks, three occurring trends are:

  • Ransomware attacks – ransomware attacks rise dramatically throughout the festive season. A ransomware attack will target a specific system, gain access, encrypt files, steal data and demand a payment from the victim of the attack. These attacks unfortunately see businesses paying ransomware groups a sum in order to retrieve their data / files or to stop being it from being published online. 
  • Phishing attacks – another popular type of cyber attack, prevalent during the holidays, is phishing attacks. Taking advantage of both consumers and employees, phishing emails and smishing (SMS phishing) messages posing as festive well wishes, seasonal offers and deals, can quite easily catch people out. These attacks can result in hijacked personal details, sensitive business information, and malware being downloaded onto devices. 
  • DDoS attacks – A Distributed Denial-of-Service attack uses a large number of bots to overwhelm a target with a flood of traffic. The goal of a DDoS attack is to disrupt the target’s operations or to extort money from the target. This can cause the target to become unavailable to legitimate users. This is an issue for all businesses but can be extremely detrimental to specific industries that rely on the seasonal sales and festive period. 

 

Protecting your business this Christmas

In order to prevent your business falling victim to a cyber attack this holiday season, it is incredibly important to have the right technology in place. Being able to track, monitor, and detect abnormalities and security incidents will ensure your business and your customers are protected from the damaging impact cyber attacks cause. 

One of our services offers powerful threat detection and response capabilities, which allow you and your team to have confidence in your security capabilities whilst our SOC team has a 24×7 eyes-on approach. 

vSOC Alert is our managed detection and response tool, offering EPP, EDR, MDR, XDR, SIEM and SOAR in an all in one service. Powered by Chronicle, you can take advantage of the speed and capability of Google’s infrastructure. Our SOC team provides 24×7 security incident alerting, so your teams will be alerted to any high-fidelity events as soon as they are detected. To discover more about the vSOC Alert service and to speak with a security expert, get in touch with us today.

 

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