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Don't forget cybersecurity during the holidays

26/12/2020
by Cathy Houghton

ith bargains, online sales, and time to sit and browse the internet, online scams and breaches to cybersecurity increase two-fold during the holiday season.

Cybercriminals use this time to take full advantage of people operating online, with SonicWall Capture Labs recording an increase in the number of cyber-attacks taking place during the holidays, increasing both ransomware and malware over the years.

Unfortunately, in September 2020, the malware had its biggest increase of the year. Worse still, ransomware increased by 40%!

Don't forget cybersecurity during the holidays

This can also be a problem for businesses, as people often use the same device to shop online as they do to connect to their employer's networks and servers.

Now is the time we all must keep our guard high!

Cybersecurity during holidays

We can all fall victim to visiting a dodgy website on the hunt for a bargain or click on an untoward phishing email because it looks very similar to an order you have placed.

Some of the most important signs and things to look out for include:

False order confirmation emails

How many purchases have you made over the past few weeks? Would you really question an email confirming yet another purchase? These particular emails are clever because firstly, you open it because you can't remember ordering anything, and secondly, cleverly, the email doesn't give too much away, so you click on the link to find out more.

Unfortunately, these emails are phishing emails controlled by a hacker. As soon as you hand your email and password over, they have all the information they need.

How to spot a bogus email?

Check out the URL. Are there letters missing in the company name? Does it have a lock symbol on the left-hand side of the address bar?

Taking advantage of public wi-fi

We would never advise you to purchase items online using public wi-fi. This is because you can never be 100% sure that the connection you are using is secure. Even with password and login details, middleman attacks work by exploiting flaws in the network, intercepting traffic, and stealing your details.

If you do want to shop online when you're out and about, using your mobile data can offer you a little further protection and make it harder to tamper with.

Keep all your devices updated

Installing the latest software updates is crucial. That and also ensuring that your firewall is enabled. These updates and barriers of a defence often contain important security updates, providing you with the latest protection against security threats.

Setting your device for automatic updates can help save time and potential security issues.

Installing the SonicWall firewall can help filter all incoming and outgoing traffic, ensuring only safe and secure data is transferred.

Bogus instant messaging

Receiving an instant message with a great offer that can't be missed when you least expect it is probably a warning sign that something might be wrong. Scammers can hijack instant messaging accounts by phishing and sending malicious malware. Clicking on any links in the message can cause your device to download a file containing malware.

Make sure to view all links with caution, and remember, if it seems too good to be true, then it probably is.

Carefully choose where you shop

If you don't know them, can you really trust them? This is why it's important to do your research. Find out about the company, ask around, has anyone you know used them before, bought from them, dealt with them, etc.

To help stay on the side of caution, use a credit card that ensures all online purchases.

Use strong passwords

Strong passwords and changing these regularly is vital in securing your device, your email accounts, and other accounts you use for online shopping.

It's also essential that you don't use the same password across multiple accounts. Using a password manager will help you use different passwords for different accounts and remember them for you, so you don't have to. The only password to remember is the password to the application manager itself!

Don't give them all your information

Handing over your mother's maiden name, or the make and model of your very first car just to buy something, should set alarm bells ringing. Details such as your name, address, and your payment details, will be required; however, anything else usually won't be needed.

Holiday shopping in 2020 and beyond

This year, the trend will most definitely see a shift to online shopping, avoiding the crowds, supporting those who are self-isolating, and more.

It's estimated that approximately 66% of people will make more purchases online in the coming months than ever before.

Installing the correct firewalls and security software and taking heed of the points mentioned above can all help keep you and your information safe online.

To find out more about SonicWall firewall, call 0330 1340 230

Read next blog: What is a VPN firewall, and how does it protect your networks?


Reference video: KnowBe4