Festive season cyber threats: Are you prepared?

Have you thought about the cyber threats your business could face this festive season?

Christmas is around the corner and most businesses are beginning to unwind and prepare for the festivities. Therefore, our minds are filled with presents, wrapping, and preparing the Christmas dinner. But as we begin to let our guards down, hackers are waiting on the sidelines for their perfect time to strike.

It’s easy to get swept away in the Christmas cheer. But just because we stop doesn’t mean the cyber threats do. In fact, our downtime is a hacker’s dream and as we slow down, they get ready to attack. Have you stopped to think about the cyber threats your business could face during the holiday season?

Not to worry. We’ve pulled together some things to think about during the most wonderful time of the year. We’re outlining a few of the main cyber threats you may face throughout the festive period. This means you can feel safe and enjoy the holidays with the confidence that your business is protected.

Phishing Emails

A phishing email is a cybercrime that contacts its target via email. The sender poses as a legitimate institution to lure individuals to hand over sensitive business information. This information is then exploited or used for financial gain.

There are 3 types of phishing emails to look out for:

  • Spear phishing – an attempt directed at a particular individual or company.
  • Clone phishing – hackers use a legitimate, previously delivered, part of online correspondence to create almost identical emails.
  • Whaling – an attempt directed specifically at a senior executive or high-profile target within the business.

It’s important to make your employees aware of phishing emails and teach them how to spot them.

Weak passwords

It’s easy to fall into the trap of using the same passwords for multiple accounts. However, this can result in leaving the business open and vulnerable to cyber-attacks.

Amongst the hustle and bustle of the Christmas period, take some time to ask yourself the important question: Are your passwords secure?

 Do they have the complexity to make it difficult for cyber criminals to breach?

Before locking up the office for Christmas, double-check that your passwords comply with best practices.

We suggest you create strong passwords by following the below steps:

  • Use a combination of upper-and lower- case letters.
  • Include numbers.
  • Include special characters (symbols).
  • Never include any personal information.
  • Never use the same password for different applications.
  • Ensure your passwords are at least 12 characters long.

Misconfiguration of Devices

When did you last configure all your devices? Is your firewall up and working properly?

It’s important to ask yourself these questions before getting wrapped up in all the festivities.

When cyber security software is updated or changed, misconfigurations become the most prevalent. This leaves your business vulnerable and open to a cyber-attack.

It is vital that your firewall is correctly configured and up to date to protect your business from hackers.

Before leaving for Christmas, double-check everything is updated and correctly configured. This means you can enjoy the holidays and have peace of mind that your business isn’t left vulnerable to cyber threats.

Cyber Essentials Certification

Here at The Unite Group, we understand the many cyber threats that businesses face day in and day out. We believe businesses should go the extra mile when it comes to cyber security. One way of doing this is to obtain the Cyber Essentials certification.

A foundation-level certificate protects your business from 80% of the most basic cyber security breaches.

The Cyber Essentials scheme covers 5 key areas of cybersecurity:

  • Access Control
  • Software Updates
  • Firewalls & Routers
  • Secure Configuration
  • Malware Protection

The Unite Group is a certifying body of the cyber essentials scheme. If you would like to learn more about the Cyber Essentials certification, click here!

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