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Cyber Threats to Look Out for This Holiday Season


It seems like every day we hear about another company with a cyber security breach. Cyber-attacks have become so prevalent, they've lost their shock value; same thing different day, right?

It's easy to shrug off the news of yet another cyber-attack when it's not your company making the headlines.

But what if it was your company? What if it was actually you that caused a security breach and allowed cybercriminals to steal customer data? More than likely it would be devastating and hard to recover. That's why it's important to always be aware of cyber threats faced by employees and companies.

Now it’s the silly season (holidays), which means everyone should be on the lookout for more intelligent and more frequent cybercrime activity.

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Social scams

Social scams are on the rise and most are an email or phone call disguised as free money, fake shipping confirmations, billing issues, compromised financial accounts, and a few others.  Remember to exercise caution and diligence when clicking on links, discussing private information, replying to an email, or calling the telephone number provided. If you're unsure about the legitimacy of a phone call or email, it’s always best to contact the entity yourself through their website or known phone number (most credit cards have a customer service number on the back).

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Ransomware

Ransomware is malware that prevents you from using files on your computer or corporate network and then extorts money in exchange for a promise to reinstate access.  Two common ransomware, CryptoLocker and CryptoWall, are back again and stronger than ever.  The latest estimated ransomware extortion total is $325,000,000.00 (I would have written "million", but all the zeros make a better visual impact!).

Attacks come through unsolicited email with web links, illegitimate search links, download sites, unsolicited phone calls and smartphone texts, and just general sharing of files.  It’s easy to be manipulated into accessing a system that will infect your computer and ruin your day.  Microsoft has a great site pertaining to ransomware here.

A rule of thumb that's easy to remember: never install software on your PC without running it by your IT department first. And, as always, think before you click!  Be smart, stay safe!

Questions? Feedback? Let me know in the comments below!

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