7 Tips for Staying Cyber Safe this Holiday Season

'Tis the season for cyber awareness! With Christmas and New Years approaching, now is a better time than ever to freshen up on essential holiday cybersecurity tips and practices. Check out our guide for tips to stay cyber safe this holiday season.
7 Tips for Staying Cyber Safe this Holiday Season

As the holiday season approaches, so does the unfortunate rise in cyber threats. Did you know ransomware attacks increase by 30% during the holidays compared to regular months? For many people, the holidays are a time to relax and spend time with family and friends. Both individuals and businesses have their guards down, and with so many people shopping for last minute gifts and trips online, cyber criminals have ample opportunity to launch their attacks. 

To underscore the importance of staying vigilant, consider the recent data breach at Xfinity, where hackers gained access to nearly 36 million customers’ sensitive information. This incident serves as a stark reminder that even major service providers are not immune to cyber threats, especially during the holiday season.

Holiday Hacking Statistics

  • 76% of US customers have experienced or been targeted by at least one form of fraud that can be tied to the holidays. 
  • 36% of Americans fall for online shopping scams.
  • Every 39 seconds, there is an attempted cyberattack during the holiday season. 
  • $173 million in losses occur due to credit card fraud during the holiday season

Cyber Tips to Avoid the 'Cyber Grinches'

  1. Double-check promos: Beware of deals or promos that seem too good to be true.
  2. Update & patch: Keep your devices and software up to date for enhanced security.
  3. MFA: Enable MFA wherever possible as an extra layer of defense.
  4. Hold onto personal info: Don’t overshare. Avoid filling out unnecessary details online. 
  5. Shop wisely: Use trusted sites with ‘https’ and a padlock icon in the URL bar.
  6. Be smart with Wi-Fi: Avoid using public Wi-Fi for online shopping or entering personal information. 
  7. Gift safely: If gifting an IoT device, educate the recipient about changing default passwords. 

What To Do If Compromised

In the unfortunate event of a cyber attack:

  • Change passwords: Begin with email and other critical accounts.
  • Notify authorities: Report the cyber incident to relevant authorities or platforms.
  • Monitor your accounts: Look out for suspicious activity. 
  • Seek professional help: Consider getting assistance from cybersecurity professionals. 

Overall, knowledge is the best defense against cyber threats. The surge in e-commerce, the distractions of the holiday season, and the frenzy of gift-giving grant cybercriminals more opportunities to strike. The statistics may be alarming, but awareness is key. By staying informed and implementing security best practices you can protect yourself from potential threats, because even the best technology in the world won’t save a business from human error. 

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