Wrapped Christmas gifts

Cyber-criminals absolutely love Christmas

Last week finally saw a break in the recent years of winter rainfall and with that, a return to those familiar crisp winters that we remember from the past. As so many of us are now capable of working remotely (thanks Covid), homes are nestled with employees, safe and snug and watching the ice yield to the temperatures that are now (thankfully!) moving back up the mercury. If we can bring ourselves to forget about how we’re going to pay to keep ourselves warm like this when the government energy subsidies are gone, then we may just realises that somehow, in the blink of an eye, Christmas is well and truly upon us.

Whether you celebrate the holiday or not, for most people this will be a time to finally put your feet up and rewind a little - after what was undoubtedly a very difficult year for most.

Unfortunately, this is the perfect time for cyber criminals to strike! Your guard is down, you’re entering “holiday mode”, maybe you still have some last-minute Christmas shopping to do. In the same way that pickpockets love crowded shops full of desperate consumers, the cyber-variant also loves this frantic online trading window.  I’m sorry, but now is not the time to forget all of your security awareness training that your company has been drilling into you the entire year (hopefully?).

It is widely believed that although there are fewer people at work this time of year and the number of successful security incidents may be a little lower than usual, the actual number of attempted attacks is higher. On the menu this year are fake deals, parcel scams, fake shopping websites, payment scams, fake charity appeals… and all the usual trimmings.

You already know the rules for spotting fake emails or texts… be wary of a sense of urgency, check the sending address, be cautious of potentially malicious links, look for a variation in the style of communication, be suspicious of any email that plays on an emotion, consider whether you were expecting the communication in the first place and please, if it looks too good to be true…

Stay safe this holiday season. Enjoy your break, if you get one, you’ve earned it. Who knows, maybe Santa will bring you some improved Cyber Security this Christmas, and Peace-of-Mind can be your New Years Resolution?

Remember, if you aren’t an existing customer who can lean on ITbuilder over this period, then you can still report a suspicious text message for free by forwarding it to 7726, and you can forward any suspicious emails to report@phishing.gov.uk.

Jason Abrahamse

Jason is ITbuilder's security expert and leads our information security project team. He provides consultancy and support on matters relating to cyber-resilience and data protection.

Something of an industry veteran, Jason has held various roles in the industry and combines that expertise to consult with customers on security best practices.

Jason is a native of South Africa, but is now a fully naturalised Brit except for not being accustomed to the cold. He lives locally in Hertfordshire.

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