Keep Your Business Bundled Up This Holiday Season 10/29/2019

The end of the year is quickly approaching and 2019 is wrapping up. While you’re gearing up for another holiday season, cybercriminals are preparing for their most wonderful time of the year. With every season cyberattacks become increasingly creative and advanced. Hackers thrive during these periods when businesses are focused on their end of year responsibilities and employees are taking time off. Email, being the most used communication channel in business, is the most common way you’ll be targeted this year. 

91% of cyberattacks start with an email. These invasions are among the easiest, most popular, and most damaging method of cybersecurity attacks. It’s imperative to be proactive and aggressive in ensuring your email security systems are modern and efficient. With last year’s Cyber Monday seeing the biggest sales day in US ecommerce history with $7.9 billion in sales, the opportunity is undeniable. And ecommerce is not the only business at risk. Opportunity is everywhere as all businesses are vulnerable at times when only a fraction of their staff is available during the holiday.  

The typical distracting chaos that coincides with this time of year only adds to the insecurity of your business email. Even the most attentive and well-trained employees are less likely to maintain their best security practices when juggling all the other responsibilities that this time brings. Last year, cybersecurity attacks saw an increase of almost 60%.  In anticipation of a similar jump this season, it’s crucial to understand what threats your security systems are protecting you from and what threats you’re vulnerable to. Don’t let your business be victimized during the busiest time of year. 

This Year’s Top Cybersecurity Threats 

Ransomware and malware remain common security threats that aren't to be ignored. Although many email security programs can automatically detect simple methods, more advanced schemes can go undetected. Cybercriminals see the holiday season as a prime time to launch ransomware attacks because businesses are more likely to pay the ransom, since they can’t afford to be down during the busiest time of year. During these especially busy times, malware attacks could go unnoticed by businesses for a troubling amount of time. This can cause considerable loss and embarrassing brand damage. 

Cybercriminals are becoming more creative in their techniques of manipulating employees into soliciting confidential information. These socially engineered attacks take advantage of employees by appearing as a credible source. By impersonating other employees, partners, organizations, CEO’s and more, they extract things like banking information or login credentials. After succeeding, they can access your network and install malicious software, in addition to having control of your email and your contacts. Social media only adds to their advantage by making a company’s connections and employees easily viewable.  

This is a preferred method of hackers since many email security platforms don’t detect social engineering attacks. These phishing emails typically don’t contain links or information that would trigger email gateways. It’s also easier and faster than hacking strong passwords. They can contain malicious links and downloads that a curious employee would trust and click. Spotting advanced phishing emails can be tricky. Especially during the busy months when you’re more preoccupied than usual, take extra precautions before trusting any message you receive. Generally, if it doesn’t seem right, it isn’t. Be wary of these telltale signs: 

  • Emails asking you to confirm or provide confidential information. 
  • Urgent requests for financial help.
  • Messages answering questions or offering solutions you didn’t ask for. 
  • Emails with spelling and grammar mistakes.
  • The URL shown differs from the hyperlinked address. Hover over links in an email to see where they reroute. 
  • Odd domain names. Braveriver.com differs from Braveriver.emailattack.com.
  • Any messages asking for money. Be especially suspicious of any charities during the holiday season. 
  • Only submit payments/info into secure HTTPS sites.

Stay Safe 

Staying protected from email security threats this year will be no easy task. A leading security solution that finds and blocks potential attacks is likely the best method of protection for your business. These sophisticated programs stay one step ahead of cybercriminals by not only identifying traditional email threats like ransomware and malware, but also guards against socially engineered attacks. 

Even so, if your email security is breached, these programs detect and notify you of any abnormal activity before your business’ data is compromised. Decrease your chances of being victimized this holiday season by arming your organization with the ability to automatically detect even the most advanced types of cybersecurity attacks.

For more information on cybersecurity programs and best practices, contact Brave River at 401-828-6611 

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