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Why Cyberattacks Increase During The Holidays


Why cyberattacks increase during the holidays has a more nuanced reason than some may assume.

Cybercriminals don’t take a holiday. With Labour Day approaching, most people are thinking about how they will enjoy their long weekends with their families. However, holidays like Labour Day tend also to bring greater cybersecurity risks to businesses. Businesses are closed during the holiday or are operating with a skeletal crew.

During the holidays, unsupervised IT networks and systems provide a great opportunity for cybercriminals to attack. With this in mind, organizations should consider if their security strategy includes a plan for cyberattacks during the holidays.

Let's dive in:

The Spike in Cybercrime During Winter: What's Behind It?

Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, or Thanksgiving, your chances of being the victim of a cyberattack increase. The vacation season is yet another perfect period for cyber attacks. If a hacker had a choice between attacking your organization when your IT security team is fully staffed or when it isn’t: what do you think they will choose?

Many times, organizations are overburdened, and cyberattacks during the holidays are the last thing on their minds. The current pandemic heightened the threat, which has resulted in many firms operating with significant cybersecurity flaws resulting from the rapid shift to working from home. Cybercriminals exploit these flaws to get access to systems – and vulnerabilities increase with less network supervision during the holidays. While different attackers use different techniques, social engineering, phishing, spear-phishing, malware, and ransomware are the most frequent.

Organization leaders and individuals can better understand how these schemes work and avoid falling victim to them if they have year-round solid cybersecurity and appropriate personnel training.

Tips to Prepare Your Organization for Holiday Cyberattacks:

  • Conduct cybersecurity awareness training programs for staff: While it may look like a basic step, conducting a refresher session on the dangers of phishing and other cyber threats for your organization’s staff can be extremely valuable. Because of the increased workload, especially over the holidays, your employees are more prone to phishing, social engineering, and even charity fraud. Ransomware attacks are profitable and are relatively simple to execute. Simple precautions can mitigate risk, such as not clicking URLs in emails from unknown senders and keeping operating systems and programs up to date. A training session could remind people to be cautious about what messages they read, preventing them from opening a Trojan horse accidentally. Employees must be aware that they must continually assess unusual or suspicious messages or documents and report them to IT and security departments. It is critical to emphasize this topic in regular educational programs

  • Have a contingency plan ready: While having a robust incident response plan in place is crucial all year, updating it and ensuring your staff are aware of it during the holidays may be advantageous in keeping you safe. Ensure your firewalls are up to date and all your data is encrypted. It’s also a good idea to plan for short-term or temporary staffing. Organizations should ensure that a solid contingency plan is in place and that responsibilities are acknowledged and understood across all departments to avoid delays and increased risks.

  • Diversify your systems to avoid a single point of failure: Most organizations put all of their assets in one location; this makes it much easier for attackers to gain access. One compromised system can cause a lot of damage to your organization. Having your assets spread across multiple accounts makes it more difficult for cybercriminals to access them and provides you more time to prepare a defence when your resources are stretched thin. Even if you can’t prevent an attack, spreading your eggs across multiple baskets minimizes the damage to your business if one location is compromised

  • Make sure your security systems are up to date: Employee training, firewall protection, anti-virus, anti-spam, wireless security, and online content filtration tools should all be part of your organization’s cybersecurity strategy. If you work in retail or another industry that uses POS systems, be aware that these systems can be vulnerable to a cyberattack, potentially exposing customer data and leading to most damage for such organizations. A POS network failure means no card transactions, which can mean no sales as many consumers no longer carry cash. It’s essential to make sure your security and backups are up to date


It’s critical to pay attention to cybersecurity throughout the year. Cybercriminals are unlikely to take a day off, so vigilance is essential. Cybercriminals are ready to take advantage of you when they think you’re vulnerable, whether through social engineering, phishing emails, or false charity websites.

These tips to prevent cyberattacks the holidays mentioned above can help you mitigate the risk for your organization, and an experienced service provider can help you frame and execute an intelligent cybersecurity plan. Reach out to Packetlabs to learn more about the cybersecurity options available to you.

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