Make holiday shopping more secure by avoiding these cyberthreats

December 27th, 2020

Even cybercriminals have much to look forward to during the holidays. With the coronavirus pandemic being far from over, many of your customers are doing their holiday shopping online, but often without the right cybersecurity safeguards. This boosts cybercriminals’ chances of scoring big on fraudulent transactions and stealing private information.

What cyberthreats should you be wary of?

Cybercrime is a constant threat throughout the year, but the following activities become even more prevalent during the holiday season:

    1. PhishingIn this social engineering scam, crooks send you emails that supposedly come from trustworthy groups or individuals. These emails tell you to do seemingly normal but potentially risky actions, such as:
      • Clicking on a link that leads to a malicious website, which will then infect your network
      • Downloading an email attachment that contains malware
      • Providing sensitive information such as login credentials to online accounts or credit card details


      To get you to do what they want, phishers may ply you with irresistible offers. Beware of emails telling you to download coupons or click on a link to get big holiday-exclusive discounts. Alternatively, phishers may claim that your bank account or credit card is compromised and require you to enter your bank details or credit card number, respectively, for verification purposes.

    2. Distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacksA DDoS attack overloads your website servers with more traffic than they are equipped to handle. The attack can slow down your website or stop it altogether, causing a major inconvenience to your customers and disrupting your revenue flow. In most cases, perpetrators demand a payment in exchange for ceasing the attack.


    1. RansomwareThis is a type of malicious software that encrypts your data, preventing you from accessing it. Cybercriminals then demand a ransom in exchange for a decryption key. Ransomware is one of the most disruptive cyberthreats today, having forced even big companies to cease their operations for up to a few days in the last few years.


    1. Disruptive botsA bot is a program designed to quickly perform simple and repetitive tasks. Bots see frequent use in messenger apps, social media, and even search engines, but they can also be used for nefarious purposes. If you have an eCommerce store, for instance, cybercriminals can use bots to fill shopping carts with products without actually buying anything. Your prospective buyers will see your inventory sold out as a result, and you will lose a lot of money.



How can you address these cyberthreats?

In cybersecurity, a proactive approach is always better than a reactive one. Here are steps you can take to minimize the risks posed by these cyberthreats:

    1. Be vigilant
      Even with the right security tools in place, you will remain vulnerable to cyberattacks if you and your team do not practice cybersecurity best practices. Ransomware, for example, usually spreads through infected email attachments and by being downloaded from malicious websites.Train your staff not to download suspicious files and visit dubious online pages. Teach them to identify email scams and implement a process they can follow should they encounter a possible cyberthreat.


    1. Employ the right cybersecurity solutions
      Cybersecurity tools like virtual private networks (VPNs), firewalls, and anti-malware software should be in your first line of defense against cybercrime. VPNs help prevent data theft, while firewalls prevent unwanted traffic from penetrating your system. Anti-malware solutions, on the other hand, isolate harmful programs and prevent them from damaging your files.


    1. Back up your files
      Should your network be infected by ransomware, backups will ensure that you won’t truly lose access to your files. The backups will prevent you from suffering considerable downtime and will let you continue serving your customers.


    1. Partner with a managed services provider (MSP)
      An MSP can monitor your network 24/7/365 and address various types of IT issues and cyberthreats before they affect your business and clients. This is especially important during the holidays when you’re likely to get a lot of input from your customers. The MSP can take care of your network while you take care of your customers’ concerns.


Do not let cyberthreats spoil the holidays for your business and customers. Protect your network and data with the assistance of cybersecurity experts from Cutting Edge today.

Download this eBook now and discover which solutions you need to maximize your business’s cybersecurity.

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