2021 is wrapping up. The big winter holidays are right around the corner. It’s time for fun, family, and time off of work. Unfortunately, cybercriminals don’t take the holidays off. According to the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), cyber criminals view the holidays as the perfect time to steal personal information. Most people (like yourself) are using their personal information to do holiday shopping online and cyber criminals are taking full advantage this year.
The number of holiday-themed phishing text messages this year is nearly double what it was last year, according to a report by the cybersecurity firm Proofpoint. Many of the insidious texts try to con recipients into sharing credit card information to resolve problems delivering a nonexistent package, the company warns. “Cybercriminals continue to prey upon mobile users with smishing attacks that claim to be from reputable companies, including prominent retailers, ecommerce brands, and parcel delivery companies. These lures attempt to steal personal information from unsuspecting targets.”
The threat of cyber crime exists for every business, no matter how big or small. Holidays have proved especially damaging in 2021 for companies hit with ransomware attacks. Colonial Pipeline’s ransomware attack struck just before Mother’s Day weekend. Meat processor JBS was hit with ransomware over Memorial Day. The Kaseya ransomware attack, which spread to the software company’s clients and ultimately compromised about 1,500 other businesses, hit during Fourth of July weekend.
Don’t let your business become a statistic. In this blog, we’ll highlight Computer Nationwide’s top 5 cybersecurity tips for avoiding holiday scams and how to practice online safety. Last but not least, learn how you can protect your business and personal information with CN…
Cyber Threats to Know About This Holiday Season
In order to protect your business and yourself, you need to understand the methods cybercriminals use to scam and deceive. If you know how they operate, you’ll be better equipped to stop them! Here is a breakdown of the most common scams…
- Ransomware Attacks: Ransomware is extortion software that can lock your computer and demand a ransom for its release. It can take over the entire operating system or encrypt individual files.
- Credit Card Fraud: Credit card fraud is the unauthorized use of a credit or debit card.
- Identity Theft: After gaining access to your personal information, scammers may assume your identity and make purchases, withdraw money without your consent.
- Phishing Texts and Emails: Phishing is when you receive a text or email from what seems to be a reputable company, deceiving you into giving them personal information like passwords and credit card numbers.
Practice Online Safety and Avoid Holiday Scams with These 5 Tips from CN
Now that you know how cyber criminals like to operate, let’s talk about the best ways to stop them in their tracks.
- Choose Strong Passwords and Change Them Regularly: There’s a reason most websites require strong passwords that include special characters and a character minimum. Cyber criminals are hard at work trying to steal your password. The best defense against this is to change it regularly.
- Enable Two Factor Authentication: Two factor Authentication is an extra layer of security. Knowing the password is not enough. Users must verify themselves through email or text to get into the account.
- Ensure Remote Desktops are Secure: If you have a remote or hybrid workplace, perform routine checks to ensure that the devices your employees use are secure.
- Conduct Cyber Security Training for Your Employees: Train your employees to know what to look for in phishing and scam email. Walk them through next steps if they do encounter malicious hardware.
- Have a Solid Disaster Recovery Plan in Place: Be prepared in the unfortunate event of an incident! Our partners at Datto have a comprehensive cybersecurity guide to Disaster Recovery below…
Stay One Step Ahead of Potential Disasters. Prepare yourself before disaster strikes. When it comes to data backup and disaster recovery (BDR), being prepared for potential disasters is key to keep your business running. It’s not only important to have a disaster recovery solution you trust, but to make sure you test it as well. Keep this DR checklist on hand!
- Assess the problem and its impact on your business: Every disaster is different. Before doing anything, understand the underlying issue and how it may affect your business.
- Is the issue local to one machine, or does it affect your entire system?
- Have files been deleted or are servers/workstations down?
- Establish recovery goals: Plan out your road to recovery
- Restore the system, the data, or both? Should time be spent recovering files and folders before system recovery
- Identify critical systems and prioritize recovery tasks.
- What date/time should you recover from?
- How long can your recovery take?
- Select the appropriate recovery types(s): Think about which approach will best get you to your end goal.
- File restore. OR
- Local virtualization. OR
- Off-site virtualization
- Verify the recovery and confirm functionality with users: Once a recovery is verified, confirm that it interacts positively with users.
- Test network connectivity
- Ensure all users can access resources and applications in the virtual environment
- Restore the original system(s), if needed: If the original system(s) needs to be restored, decide which restoration process will work best.
- Bare metal restore. OR
- Virtual machine restore
- Self-assess afterwards: After it’s all said and done, take a step back and think about – How well did your team do? What could you have done differently?
- What precipitated the failure ?
- What ongoing issues need to be addressed
- What can be done better in future disaster recovery scenarios.
Partner with Computers Nationwide for the Ultimate Cyber Defense!
Computers Nationwide is here for all of your cybersecurity needs this holiday season and in the new year. We offer employee cyber security training and Managed Cyber Security solutions to keep your SMB protected from cyber crime 24/7. Our services will give you peace of mind, ’round the clock surveillance, and customized solutions to best keep you secure based on your needs.
- Peace of Mind: Just like a security system monitors for physical intruders, this is your monitoring for virtual intruders. Gives you the peace of mind like a standard security system.
- 24/7 Detection: Threat is detected immediately and action is taken right away. Prevent attacks before damage is done while also protecting your business reputation.
- Customized Solutions: Threat solutions are your choice (or CN’s choice if you prefer). That’s right – no vendor restriction, everything is customizable with capabilities to integrate/automate in a way that works best for you!
Cyber security threats are serious business, the risk is too high to simply ignore bad actors. Hackers and malware can sneak in and disrupt your operations, costing you time, money, and most of all, your reputation. Worse still, hackers, malware, and ransomware can take down your business completely. We’re here to make sure that doesn’t happen. Whatever you decide to do, don’t open that suspicious link!