3 Holiday-themed cyberthreats businesses should watch out for in 2023

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The holidays aren’t just a time for celebration — they’re also an opportunity for cybercriminals to capitalize on the increased online activity and employee distraction. 

In this blog, we’ll break down the most common holiday-themed cyberthreats businesses like yours should watch out for to keep your data safe during this busy season.  

1. Retail scams

Retailers not only face a surge in customers during the holiday season, but they also encounter a heightened risk of cyberthreats, including breached transactions and online scams. According to the 2023 Data Breach Investigations Report, payment card data theft accounts for 37% of breaches for the year. In this cybercrime, malicious code is embedded into the retailer’s credit card processing page, allowing hackers to discreetly steal customer payment information without detection.

Typosquatting is another common tactic used by cybercriminals. It involves mimicking commonly mistyped domains to create fraudulent websites that impersonate legitimate retailers. This method exploits customers’ haste during the holiday rush, which can lead them to enter their payment card information into a fake website.

How to avoid retail scams

To prevent retail breaches and customer scams, retailers must prioritize implementing security measures, including conducting regular security audits, implementing encrypted payment processing pages, and continuously monitoring for suspicious activities. Additionally, they should raise customer awareness about typosquatting and urge customers to double-check website URLs before making a purchase. Emphasizing the importance of using secure payment methods and being cautious of too-good-to-be-true offers could also help enhance customer resilience during the holiday season.

2. Holiday-themed phishing emails

Phishing involves attackers disguising themselves as trustworthy entities to trick individuals into sharing sensitive information or clicking on malicious links. Statistics show that this tactic is the most common form of cybercrime, with an estimated 3.4 billion phishing emails sent every day.

During the holidays, cybercriminals often capitalize on the heightened sense of generosity, urgency, and goodwill. Holiday-themed phishing emails thus become commonplace, often disguised as cheerful greetings, gift promotions, or important updates.

Protecting yourself from holiday phishing emails

Amid the workplace festivities, be sure to continue exercising caution and skepticism when you receive unexpected emails, even if they appear to be from familiar sources. Verify the legitimacy of the sender’s email address, carefully examine the content for any irregularities, and refrain from clicking on suspicious links or downloading attachments. These are vital steps to thwart phishing attempts. Implementing additional email security measures such as spam filters can further strengthen your defenses against phishing and other cyberthreats.

3. Deceptive ads

During the holidays, cybercriminals often launch deceptive ads posing as holiday offers. These ads are strategically placed across the web to lure users with promises of exclusive deals, discounts, or holiday freebies. However, when clicked on, these ads will typically redirect users to fraudulent websites designed to exploit and steal your sensitive data.

For example, an ad might promote a high-demand product at an unbelievably low price. This tactic, designed to incite urgency and excitement, could lead you to impulsively click the ad. You might then be directed to a website mimicking a known online retailer. Under the guise of completing a purchase, you may be fooled into entering your personal information and payment details. The result could be stolen private information, identity theft, and financial loss.

How to steer clear of deceptive ads

Before jumping on enticing online offers, scrutinize their legitimacy. Verify the source by checking for official logos, brand names, or reputable retailers. Avoid clicking ads leading to unfamiliar websites. Instead, navigate directly to the official website to ensure a secure transaction. Consider installing ad blockers and keeping your software security updated for an extra layer of online protection.

Keep your business and employees safe during the holiday season. SpectrumWise offers a wide variety of cybersecurity solutions to keep your data protected year-round. Schedule a consultation with us today to discover the best services for your needs.


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