December 22, 2021

Seasonal cybercrime - a wider message about effective cybersecurity

In the run-up to Christmas, consumers have once again been urged to be cautious when making purchases online. Every digital shopper faces a variety of cybercrime risks, from fake websites to a burst of seasonal phishing emails, as cybercriminals look to profit from seasonal spending.

These annual attacks put millions of people in danger of having their personal data stolen, being tricked into paying for goods they will never receive, or worse still, sharing their payment details with fraudsters.

According to a recent report in The Guardian, “More than £15m was lost through fraud in the run-up to Christmas in 2020, with more than 28,000 reports of scams costing an average of more than £500.”

Last year, the problem was exacerbated by lockdown, as more people inevitably went online to meet their Christmas shopping needs. It’s likely that we’ll see similar problems emerge once again this year as online shopping continues to grow in popularity and many consumers stay away from crowds.

For online businesses, the risks also grow during these peaks in commercial activity. One recent piece of research, for example, revealed a 30% increase in attempted ransomware attacks over the holiday season compared to the monthly average.

Proactive Protection

The understandable emphasis on seasonal cybercrime at this time of year is also an important reminder for organisations to remain focused on everyday threats and vulnerabilities all year round.

Take the risks presented by phishing and fake email attachments, for example, which are consistently one of the biggest cybersecurity issues seen today. Around 1 in every 100,000 files contain malicious content, with 98% unknown to antivirus solutions – effectively making it invisible to those reactive cybersecurity technologies.

Then there’s the evolving problem of zero day exploits, which can remain active and undetected for up to 18 days until antivirus and sandboxing technologies are updated to mitigate the risk or software fixes are released.

During that window of vulnerability afforded by reactive security solutions, unprotected infrastructure remains open to attack and as a result, zero day exploits have become a preferred way for cybercriminals and nation-state hackers to breach network security.

And, with trends such as hybrid and remote working continuing to change how organizations use technology, the threat landscape is now more sophisticated and complex than ever. The result is that detection-based security solutions simply can’t keep up with some of the most effective tactics employed by today’s cybercriminals.

In contrast, Glasswall’s proactive Content Disarm and Reconstruction (CDR) technology instantly cleans and rebuilds files to match their ‘known good’ manufacturer’s specification – automatically removing potential cyber threats. This simple approach ensures every document entering or leaving the organization is safe, without sacrificing productivity, meaning users can trust every file.

To read more about how Glasswall helps protect organizations from the risks of file-based threats all year round, click here.

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