To rephrase the ominous premonition of the Stark family, “The winter sales are coming!”
Perhaps you’re the type of person who gathers all the ads on Thanksgiving morning, planning how your family can synchronously hit three different stores to reap all their door-buster deals. Maybe you’re that guy who scours the Internet for early leaked copies of Monday’s sales, programming your scripts to ensure you’re the first to click buy. Or perchance—like me—you’d rather sleep in with a full belly and let others battle it out. Whichever profile fits you, Black Friday and Cyber Monday are coming, launching us into the busiest shopping season of the year… and bringing the cyber criminals scurrying out of the cracks in droves.
Criminal hackers follow the money. They track big trends and know when the biggest shopping seasons occur. Plus, like all good social engineers, they’re masters of human psychology, preying on our behavioral weaknesses to get what they want. You can bet criminal hackers are just as excited about the holiday sales season as the discount-seeking shoppers. For that reason, it’s important you enter this period with a little awareness and your eyes wide open. To help with the former, here are the top five cyber threats to watch out for during the shopping season:
The top five threats above all have consumers in mind, but let me share one last holiday cyber threat that merchants need too look out for; Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks. Cyber criminals realize the holidays are a very important seasons for online retailers—especially days like Cyber Monday. They know that even an hour of downtime can translate into millions in lost sales for big retailers, and they want to steal a piece of your pie. Expect to see some DDoS attacks targeting online store during the holidays, followed by extortion letters asking for money to stop the attack.
One of the best defenses to cyber attacks is a bit of awareness and vigilance. Now that you know what types of threats and scams to expect this holiday season, you can look out for them, and avoid becoming a patsy. While I shared a few security tips already, let me summarize a few other steps you can take to make your holidays hacker free.
The holidays should be about family and fun. Keep your eye out for these five top threats and follow my basic security tips and you’ll surely enjoy a happy holiday season, and hopefully nab a cool treat for you and your family during this shopping season.
You can’t protect what you don’t know needs to be protected.
This may sound painfully obvious, but based on recent research, the market of information security professionals don’t have nearly enough visibility into the information they are tasked with securing. We know this because we worked directly with Frost & Sullivan researchers to determine the level of insight security professionals have into their data systems.
We presented the results in a webinar with Frost & Sullivan Principal Consultant Jarad Carleton. You can view the full webinar now to get the details on just how important visibility is to defending your data.
Defense in depth is important, but multiple systems with multiple dashboards increase the burden on overtaxed InfoSec professionals. By distributing where information lives and not having a way to connect the systems or servers that house a businesses’ lifeline, the risk of a hack or exposure through vulnerability can go unmitigated. Frost & Sullivan’s research shows that only 15 percent of IT spend is funneled toward detecting an intrusion or compromise.
Businesses assume that by erecting a fence around their data, they are protected. But consider the fence around your data to be like the fence around 100,000 acres of rangeland. If cows start to disappear, finding the hole they’re escaping from can be a monumental task unless you have systems in place to detect those weak points. It’s no different in information security. If a leak happens with your data, you will only find out when it’s too late and your intellectual property or customer data has been exposed.
The webinar is an important teaching in how products like WatchGuard Dimension can offer the visibility into incoming threats, attack vectors and vulnerabilities to exposure as well as how to protect your business from dangerous viruses like CryptoLocker.
WatchGuard Dimension is capable of analyzing your networks inbound and outbound traffic in real time. It offers visibility into bandwidth usage, application control and other vital information for not only protecting your data, but also detecting potential data exposure.
The webinar recording features a live demonstration of how WatchGuard Dimension can actively identify the signatures of CryptoLocker. CryptoLocker is a form of ransom ware that is quickly spreading across the Internet through phishing and social engineering attacks. It encrypts the data on a computer’s hard drive and only offers the decryption key if the computer owner pays a significant fee.
Because of WatchGuard’s best-of-breed approach, our collaboration with key antivirus providers enables our customers to not only prevent the virus from rooting onto a computer, but also enables administrators the ability to identify at-risk users and targets to prevent them from falling victim to an attack.
We invite you to watch the recorded webinar now and learn how greater network visibility will enable you to protect your users and your data better. And, if you’re ready to try out WatchGuard Dimension, let us know now.