This Holiday Season, Take the Time to Protect Yourself From Cybercrime

Holiday cybercrime
Getty Images

The holiday season is one of the busiest times of the year for scammers and hackers.

Shoppers and philanthropists are both easier targets during the busy holiday season. The Covid-19 pandemic has meant increased virtual visits with loved ones, and of course remote work. The number of people willing to use their personal devices for holiday shopping has also increased as a result of the pandemic.

It’s a good idea to prepare for cybercrime, and whenever possible avoid becoming a victim of it.

Additionally, the political season gave rise to phishing campaigns, a phenomenon that is likely to continue through the end of the year.

Individuals, businesses and organizations alike need to tread carefully. The incidence of ransomware attacks has continued to climb, over 700% by some estimates in 2020 in comparison to 2019, with phishing emails being the primary vector. A personal device that has been compromised by a careless click on a phishing email or a download from a phony e-commerce site is capable of spreading ransomware across a business’s network, sometimes within seconds.

Even discounting the significant increase during the Covid-19 pandemic, many employees opt to work remotely over the holidays to avoid using vacation days or falling behind on communication. This presents a set of challenges for IT professionals, with 36.6% of those surveyed listing poorly secured personal and network devices as being their primary concern with a remote workforce.

None of this is to suggest that falling prey to holiday cybercrime is unavoidable or that the potential damage can’t be mitigated, but it is important to educate yourself, friends and family to safeguard the holiday season.