5 Steps to Navigate Cyber Threats During This Holiday Season

December 26, 2023

The holiday season is a time for celebration and well-earned vacations. But amidst the festive spirit, a lurking threat emerges for businesses: cyberattacks. While businesses slow down to celebrate, hackers often accelerate their activities, aiming to exploit vulnerabilities in the holiday chaos.

Several factors make the year-end particularly attractive for attackers. Reduced workforce due to employee leaves can leave critical systems understaffed and vulnerable. Especially for e-commerce businesses, this translates to increased website traffic and potential security loopholes. Additionally, the festive spirit can lead to lowered guard for employees, making them more vulnerable to phishing attempts and other cyber threats.

While the end of the year may bring a slower pace to some parts of your business, cybersecurity vigilance must remain constant. By implementing essential security measures, you can safeguard your organization from opportunistic hackers and enjoy a safe and secure holiday season.

Here are 5 essential steps you can take to strengthen your defenses.

  1. Secure internal networks

The number of remote employees is expected to increase significantly during the holiday season. This presents a unique challenge for organizations as securing remote access points becomes crucial. Hackers often exploit Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) vulnerabilities to gain unauthorized access to systems and data.

Moreover, organizations should strengthen their first line of defense by employing firewalls and intrusion detection/prevention systems (IDS/IPS). This ensures filtering malicious traffic and safeguarding the network.

  1. Have a strong backup and recovery plan

Every business handles sensitive information, from customer data to confidential intellectual property. Protecting this information is paramount in today’s digital landscape, especially with the alarming rise of ransomware attacks.

Ransomware is a cybercrime where hackers hack and lock down your data, demanding a ransom payment for its decryption. Unfortunately, even after paying the ransom, businesses often lose access to their data or risk it being leaked onto the dark web.

This is where regular backups come in as a crucial safeguard. A reliable backup solution ensures you can minimize the impact of a ransomware attack, reduce downtime, and limit disruptions to your business operations.

  1. Employ passwordless authentication.

Passwords remain a primary target for hackers, who exploit their weaknesses to gain unauthorized access. Traditional password practices, often relying on simple and predictable patterns derived from personal information, make it easier for attackers to crack the code.

However, users often struggle with remembering solid and unique passwords for multiple accounts. This reluctance to adopt robust password practices creates a security gap that passwordless authentication can effectively address.

By leveraging inherent user features like fingerprints or facial scans, passwordless authentication eliminates the need for memorizing complex passwords. This not only simplifies the user experience but also significantly enhances security. Unlike passwords, biometric data is unique and virtually impossible to replicate or forge, making it a far more reliable barrier against cyberattacks.

  1. Conduct awareness training

Phishing is one of the most common attacks during the festive season. With enticing offers of holiday gift cards, festive invitations, and exclusive sale emails, hackers manipulate users to click on malicious links or share confidential information. The sense of urgency associated with the holidays and the desire to snag a good deal can easily cloud judgment, making individuals more susceptible to falling victim to these scams.

  1. Develop a cyber incident response plan.

A cyber incident response plan is designed to help businesses swiftly recover and minimize disruptions following a cyber incident. Given the reduced workforce during the holiday season and the heightened risk of cyber attacks, such a plan serves to clarify everyone’s responsibilities, establish effective communication channels for timely reporting of any issues, and ensure that organizations can promptly address and resolve incidents, even when operating with a reduced workforce and changed schedules.

Although the festive season is eagerly anticipated each year, it also heightens the risk of cyber attacks for businesses. Rather than loosening the reins on cybersecurity, companies should remain vigilant and enhance their security protocols to ensure a secure holiday season.

To know how Array can help you protect your enterprise from malicious threat actors, reach out to our sales team today.

Shibu Paul

Mr. Paul has 25 years of experience in the field of Digital transformation – IT, IS and telecom – having worked with Sify Ltd, British Telecom Global services (India) and BT Americas in various roles. He was part of the team that launched the first IP network, first private ISP and first Certifying Authority in India. He joined Array in 2009 as country sales head and progressed to leadership positions including Country Manager and Regional Director-APAC.