Christmas holidays could mean an increased cyber threat – are you prepared?

Christmas means an increase in cyber attacks

The Christmas holidays are almost here. This not only means festive days with family and friends, and time to relax. But also unfortunately, an increased risk of cyber-attacks. Download our free cyber security checklist to be better prepared.

This year, there has been a sharp increase in cyber-attacks. Cloud Security company Checkpoint recently revealed that globally, attacks increased by 28% in the third quarter of 2022 compared to the same period in 2020. The most attacked industry in Q3 of 2022 was the Education/Research sector, an increase of 18% compared to the third quarter of 2021. Checkpoint also reported that the Healthcare sector was the most targeted industry for ransomware, with one in 42 organisations impacted by ransomware, a 5% increase.

Unfortunately, it’s quite clear from Checkpoint’s findings that cyber criminals will continue to be more active into 2022’s Christmas holidays – traditionally the time in the year when it is easier to succeed with cyber-attacks. Security manager at F24 Nordics, Jan Terje Sæterbø, says:

– During holidays, the number of active staff in an organisation is at a low level. Many people take time off or work from home, and there may be temps or seasonal workers on duty. Furthermore, this is also the time when many e-mails are sent, for example with Christmas and New Year’s greetings. Phishing attempts may therefore be easier to “slip through.” And Cybercriminals know exactly how to exploit what is an opportune time for them.

Sæterbø therefore reminds that routines for good data security must also be followed during the Christmas holidays – and that it is important to focus on being prepared, especially before the festive break:

– It is important all year round, but particularly important during the holidays. With an increased likelihood of attempted attacks, vigilance must also be heightened. It is imperative to remind all employees of the importance of cyber security, as well as to be on the lookout for phishing and other attacks. All employees must be taught to refrain from clicking on links or opening attachments in e-mails and messages, before checking whether the sender is who they claim to be.

If you are unfortunate enough to be exposed to a computer attack, the Christmas holiday also gives you some other challenges that you should think through, says Sæterbø:

– As many people travel during the holidays, it can be a challenge to know how to get hold of key employees. It can also become complex to inform all employees quickly and efficiently if a situation arises where the company’s network and e-mail cannot be utilised. You should therefore have established alternative channels in advance to be able to inform all employees, through a solution that is separate from your ordinary IT operations.

In collaboration with the Business Security Council, F24 has put together a useful checklist for cyber-attacks. Here you will also find suggestions for message texts to employees and customers, as well as a list of important contacts. Remember that if you are affected by a cyber-attack, you cannot use the company’s email to inform your own employees – you MUST use an external service.

If you use CIM as a preparedness tool, notification and preparedness management will take place in a tool separate from your ordinary IT operations. This tool will not be affected, thus ensuring that you can take the necessary measures to deal with the situation. The suggestions for checklists and notification texts can be entered as ready-made templates and activated with the press of a key.

Get in touch if you want to know more about how you can set up CIM as a tool for monitoring security threats and dealing with cyber-attacks. On behalf of the F24 team, stay safe and have a great Christmas and New Year!

Download checklist

Jan Terje Sæterbø

Jan Terje Sæterbø is working for F24 Nordics since 2012 as a Customer Success Manager. Additionally, he is dealing with IT security issues on a daily basis as a Security Office since 2018 and has been working as an IT security consultant for F24 Nordics’ clients.
He has been involved in the development of digital crisis management solutions since the late 1990s and has led the implementation of such solutions for a number of national and international players. Additionally, Jan Terje studied crisis management at the Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences.

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