Photo of computer code

‘Tis the Season for Cyberattacks

17 Dec 2015 by Shay Moser

During this time of year — as most companies are winding down or rushing to get things done before year-end — cyberthreats increase. Bad guys look for ways to take advantage of security gaps opened by reduced IT staff on hand or mistakes made by employees rushing to get things done.

Phishing Attacks 

This makes it a perfect time for a reminder to be cautious when opening emails, clicking on links or browsing websites that seem suspect.  

Please remember the following guidance:

  • Check the email addresses. A legitimate business email will not come from personal email accounts (i.e., Hotmail, Gmail, etc.)
  • Pay attention to messages with generic greetings. Organizations you know should know your name and information.
  • Watch out for messages that require “immediate action” or create a sense of urgency. Don’t be rushed into making a mistake, and remember that legitimate organizations will not ask you for personal information via an email.
  • Use extreme caution with links. Only click on links you are sure are safe. Check by hovering over the link before you click. If the destination doesn’t match the email, it may be an indication of an attack.
  • Be suspicious of unexpected attachments. Only open those you were expecting from individuals that you know and, as always, if the offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
  • Read more about how to protect yourself.

Credit card hacks

Credit Card theft is also on the rise during this time of year. While you're out shopping, browsing for gifts online, or enjoying time with family and friends, following these basic safeguards will go a long way in protecting your identity, as well as reduce the risk of exposing your bank account.

  • Use a shopping or spending card. It can be separate from your personal spending account and you can load funds to these cards as needed.
  • Avoid shopping on public Wi-Fi networks. They are typically less secure and can increase your risk of identity theft.
  • Shop on reputable, secure sites. Look for sites that start with https://
  • Use strong passwords. Longer, more complex passwords make it more difficult for a hacker to guess your password.
  • Avoid phishing attempts. Don’t enter sensitive or financial information into pop-up windows, and use caution when clicking on links.

Mobile flaws

Cybercriminals don’t stop at PCs, email or credit cards. They’re always looking for ways to attack, and mobile devices can be more vulnerable than the other platforms. Below are ways to protect them, too.

  • Create a strong password.
  • Use your device’s auto-lock feature, making it auto-lock after a minute from the last activity.
  • Only download secure applications from authorized app stores like Google Play. Even then, you’re not completely safe. For instance, flaws were found recently in Target’s Wish List app.
  • Don’t share your device with others.
  • Back up and protect your data.
  • If you lose your mobile device, report it immediately to your carrier (i.e., AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon, etc.) or business if it’s a company-owned device.
  • Learn more about how to protect your Apple or Android device.

Following these simple tips will help make it a happy holiday season for you and your business — not the cybercriminals.