“One of the main cyber-risks is to think they don’t exist.”
–STEPHANE NAPPO, IBFS Global Chief Information Security Officer and Cyber Security Expert
For many, the holiday season is a special time to pause and reflect on things that are important. It is a time to celebrate, show gratitude, and practice generosity with family, friends, and co-workers. While joyful in most cases, it can also be a very busy time of year, as people travel, attend holiday parties and buy gifts online.
This busyness also applies to the seasonal uptick in scams and malware delivered through email. Requests for contributions, infected links and documents, and additional cybersecurity threats tend to increase during the holiday season, as individuals shop online and make contributions to charities.
On November 19, the National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center (NCCIC) of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security issued an alert regarding malware campaigns and seasonal scams. Though not the most joyful topic – especially in the midst of a volatile week in the markets – we wanted to relay and expand on this important message, in the hope that our clients and readers might apply best practices this holiday season and avoid common scam and malware mistakes that can, unfortunately, lead to financial and reputational damage if necessary precautions are not taken.
Common Scam and Malware Traps
The NCCIC advises exercising caution when shopping online and using email. As the holiday season approaches and online shopping ramps up, so do the scam emails. Be very diligent with emails that claim to have information on recent orders placed online or come from suspicious-looking addresses. Here are some common things to look out for:
Precautions Worth Taking
In an effort to avoid these common traps, Evergreen recommends taking the following precautions regarding seasonal scam and malware campaigns:
Actions to Take in the Event of a Security Breach
If you believe you are a victim of a scam or malware campaign, consider taking the following actions:
The bottom-line to protecting yourself from online attacks is to stay vigilant when opening emails, buying online goods, and making contributions to charities. If the content-in-question looks fishy, too-good-to-be-true or comes from an unidentified source, it is best to avoid clicking on links, opening attachments or disclosing any personal information. Diligently following these guidelines will help ensure the 2018 Holiday Season is happy indeed.
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