Beware: Cybercriminals Won’t Be Taking Time Off During the Holidays

The holiday season is upon us. During this time of year, we typically enjoy time off due to businesses closing in observance of the holidays. Many of us maximize time off by adding a well-deserved break in the form of PTO or vacation days around these closures. However, this casual, festive approach at the end of the year doesn’t apply to everyone. There is a group of people who not only don’t take time off during the holiday season but are quick to play the role of The Grinch. Those people are would-be cybercriminals.

Cybercriminals are open for business all year round, and the fruits of their labor—schemes such as malware, ransomware, phishing, and business email compromise—can wind up being gifts that keep on giving. While it’s natural to take your foot off the gas at the end of the year and get distracted by holiday shopping or vacation planning, it’s in our best interest to remain vigilant this time of year to avoid falling victim to cybercrime.

How to keep your guard up and avoid cybercrime during the holidays

Hackers and other bad actors will try to take advantage of the holiday season and the good cheer that comes along with it. They’ll target us with insidious phishing scams claiming to relate to a shopping order of ours, informing us there’s a problem that requires your attention. However, these emails will include malicious links that provide them with unauthorized access to our personal information.

Also, beware of emails from vendors you’ve never done business with purporting to offer deals or discounts that seem too good to be true. This is a scam used to harvest payment information from unsuspecting shoppers.

Another scheme to look out for this time of year is phony charity emails attempting to steal your payment data. Avoid emails from organizations you’ve never heard of and be sure to check the domain or URL of any you do choose to donate to. Hackers will use ‘spoof URLs’ to make you think you’re safe when you’re really not.

While you might relax a bit and take time off this time of year, you can bet your holiday bonus that cybercriminals won’t be doing either. Instead, they’ll be ramping up their sinister efforts to try to take advantage of the rest of us trying to enjoy the holidays. Don’t let your guard down, or this will be anything but the ‘most wonderful time of the year.’