Why is the number of cyber attacks during holidays growing?

RiskXchange Why are cyber risks on the rise during the holiday season RiskXchange The leader in Third-Party Cyber Risk Management

As the holiday season draws closer, the retail and logistics industry can expect a significant increase in activity and revenue as customers flock to websites and physical stores to complete their shopping. But so does increase the risk of cyber attacks during holidays.

Studies show that holiday shopping in 2021 will grow by 8.1% in sales, marking a significant rise from last year. While this can seem like good tidings, what companies should also be wary of are rising cyber attacks during holidays, coinciding with this marked uptick in business—specifically when it comes to eCommerce sales.

Today, ransomware, malware, and phishing attacks have become more frequent during the holiday season, exposing sensitive data. 

Research on past holidays, in fact, indicates that cybercriminals become bolder and more aggressive at this time of the year; a 2021 report even revealed that organisations reported more than 20 supply chain disruptions during the previous year.

To protect your data from significant monetary loss and to protect your business reputation, preparing your systems, teams and data for the uptick in cybercriminal activity during the holiday season is crucial. 

Understanding the spike in cyber attacks during holidays

Defining effective cybersecurity strategies means assessing where things can go wrong. 

While most organisations already have strategies to mitigate cyberattacks, they fall short during the holiday season because they don’t plan for an increase in security incidents.

When consumers make a purchase, either online or at a physical store, sensitive information is exchanged to complete the transaction. The increase in transaction volume during this period can make it challenging for organisations to monitor their systems and data, cyber attack risks are on the rise, providing plenty of opportunities for cybercriminals to penetrate enterprise networks, particularly if they’re leveraging techniques such as phishing to bypass cybersecurity defences. 

The lack of employee training also contributes to cyber risks.

Cybercriminals also exploit the festive season by sending consumers spoof emails or fake web pages. While these web pages are virtually indistinguishable from the real thing, they siphon personal information from the user easily.

Today, domain spoofing accounts for a significant percentage of cyberattacks, leading to heavy monetary losses amounting to billions of dollars. 

Creating a more secure IT environment with the right solutions 

Despite the sharp rise in cyberattacks, there are several measures your organisation can leverage to create a more secure environment. 

Conduct cybersecurity awareness training for staff 

Cybersecurity awareness training equips employees with the insight to identify phishing emails, reducing the chances of malware and phishing attacks disrupting the system. 

Training programmes are also an excellent opportunity to enforce cybersecurity processes by drilling appropriate response procedures into your employees and ensuring that cyber security incidents are reported to IT teams. 

Develop a contingency plan 

Having a robust incident management plan protects your assets, but having a contingency plan allows your business to recover quickly from a cyberattack. 

Furthermore, devising a solid contingency plan ensures that all responsibilities are understood across all departments, creating a well-oiled machine that can rapidly respond to any cyberattack and maintain the integrity of your cybersecurity infrastructure. 

Update cybersecurity systems 

With all the activities unfolding during the holiday season, businesses require more sophisticated security systems that allow them to monitor their network in real-time. 

Leveraging real-time security platforms can give you better insight into network activity and protect your attack surface. 

You also require platforms that can monitor third-party vendors. Organisations within the retail and logistics industry work with dozens of vendors who can expose their data if they suffer a cyber breach. 

To mitigate these risks, investing in a vendor security rating solution can help you monitor your vendors and determine if they are following cybersecurity best practices. 

Prepare for a more cyber-secure holiday season

With the holiday season in full swing and with trends indicating a high level of risk for businesses during this time, you need a robust cybersecurity and risk management plan that will allow you to secure your data from a cyber attacks during holidays.

Taking the right precautions will allow you to reap the economic boons that accompany the holiday season while protecting your IT environment with greater precision and resilience.