Top 5 Ways Your Network Vulnerability is Increased This Holiday Season

The holiday season brings the joy, excitement, and anticipation of celebrations with friends and family to people all over the world. As we rush to prepare for these festivities, we look for ways to be more efficient, get the best deal on gifts and balance work and travel to visit family for the holidays. The festive spirit calls us to celebrate our relationships and have faith in our fellow man. It gives us those warm fuzzy feelings that make it easy to forget that cyber threats are still looming, and growing more prevalent, waiting for an unsuspecting user to make one wrong move. With just one errant click these CyberGrinches will be able to steal more than just your Christmas. Each year from November through December the number of cyber-attacks increases by 20%, are you ready to stop holiday breaches from damaging your organization?

We’re breaking down the top 5 things that make your network is more vulnerable to attack this holiday season, so you can plan to keep your users safe as we approach the new year.

# 5: Short Staffed

It’s no secret that employees take time off during the holidays and the IT department is no exception. Hackers know that there is an increased opportunity to infiltrate your network before being detected when there are fewer people keeping watch over systemic abnormalities. Even with today’s automated detection systems in place having limited resources available over the holiday season makes your network more vulnerable to attack, making it essential to inform your team about ways to avoid malware exploits.

#4: Reused Login Credentials

This holiday season over 41% of employees will do a little holiday shopping online while at work. There’s no harm in doing a little shopping on your work laptop, but over 46% will use the same password to shop online that they use to access your data and systems. If you combine that with a visit to a malicious site your users are giving carte blanche to hackers leading to a breach.

#3: Increased Demand for Your Products & Services

Your holiday season profitability will have you fending off an increased number of attacks from Thanksgiving through the New Year. Whether you are a media company preparing for holiday box office surges,  an e-commerce merchant relying on sales, or a provider of essential services; chances are your demand is increasing over the holidays.  As the demand for your product increases, so do the number of targeted attacks against your business with hackers banking on the bet that the cost to pay a ransomware attacker off might be lower than the cost of a system outage if you refuse payment.

#2: Open Wi-Fi Networks

Up to 70% of employees will be working remotely over the holidays rather than taking PTO. As they travel to visit their loved ones and try to keep connected to work they’ll be looking for Wi-Fi networks at airports, hotels and coffee shops all over the world, and rather than seeking out the Wi-Fi password they may opt to join the unsecured network. These open networks pose a tremendous threat to your network security as holiday hackers could be setting up honeypots allowing malicious code to attach itself to your systems.

#1: Fake Sale Ads/Promotional Coupons

Through the holidays, many shoppers rely on seeing those sale ads hit their inbox to help them make that last-minute purchase decision, once they get that coupon they click the link with the intent to make that purchase. Unfortunately, not all of these sale ads and coupons are authentic, and hackers have become remarkably good at creating ads that look just like the real thing, posing as one of the top 5 e-commerce merchants. Once the link is clicked, malware can be executed on your endpoint.

These threats and many more await your users this winter making the holiday season a time for celebration but also one necessitating vigilance. Take the time to remind your users to be on the lookout for additional threats to both your network and their own personal information.

In the meantime, we’ll be discussing unique attack tactics and ways to prevent them in our webinar on December 5. Register Now

Wishing you a happy and safe holiday season!

To learn more, visit:

Kim Thomson

Manager - Product Marketing