The holiday season is one of cheer, high spirits, and energy. People find the time to fit in ten times the partying and family gatherings while still mostly maintaining a normal work schedule. Even workplaces find the time for little parties and gift trading during normal hours and many throw an official company party on a weekend evening so everyone can get dressed up. Of course, normal people aren't the only ones who get excited and active over the holidays. Hackers have their own kind of holiday cheer and instances of cyber attacks usually pick up significantly during the holiday season. These attacks are often timed to take advantage of the increased commercial business and how distracted most people get as the new year and everyone's annual mid-winter celebrations get closer.
Is Your Company at Risk?
One thing that every modern company should be asking themselves this holiday season is whether or not they are at risk for a malware or more directed cyber attack. The largest group of victims is the hospitality industry. Anyone who works in hotels, vacation spots, and even restaurants are targeted, usually for credit card numbers, because of the increase in business. For the same reason, retail stores and e-commerce sites are at an increased risk of hacking. However, if you are outside of the normal holiday traffic industries, don't think you're safe. Hackers are well-known for choosing unsuspecting victims in seemingly random professions ranging from dentists to industrial parts manufacturers.
Start with Thorough Backups
One of the tricky problems with guarding against hackers is that you can't predict the tactics they'll use. Sometimes their goal is to make money as with credit card number theft and annoyware, but often their holiday cheer inspired goal is simply to ruin your day and quite probably destroy your files. Therefore, to prepare for absolutely anything, make backups. Backup everything from the network infrastructure and configuration to employee local files. This way, even if your entire network gets destroyed by vicious holiday malware, you can wipe everything to factory settings and load from backup to be back on your feet before the hacker even realizes they've lost their hooked fish.
Firewalls, Malware Scanning, and Network Monitoring
Of course, no one wants to have to go through the reset and restore process if they don't have to. It's always better to have no malware even if you're able to recover quickly. Therefore you want to build your network security in a way that both prevents malware invasion and detects it immediately on the off-chance that some sneaks in and decides to lurk as they often do. The first step is a strong and well-configured firewall. This should stop most access simply by denying anything suspicious or from an unusual source. Malware scanning, on the other hand, a software feature that looks for signs of malware either invading or hiding its files and processes on your system. Finally, for the truly sneaky malware and hacking attempts, network monitoring can flag any unusual behavior on your network that might indicate unauthorized activity.
Is your network secure enough to repel the increase in hacking over the holiday season? If some cheerful hacker or their harmful malware finds your company network, you want your firewall to be ready and your backups complete and up to date. Even if you're lucky enough not to attract a hacker's attention over the holidays, you still get the benefit of starting the new year with optimized security. For more information about strengthening your network security or for professional assistance in the effort, we encourage you to contact us today.