You might think that as an SME, professional service provider, public body, consultant or similar that the seasonal rise in virtual crime won’t affect you. Indeed, most of the articles you read in the news will point to the increase being related to e-commerce, attributing the increase to the vast sums of money changing hands electronically with events like Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
But don’t be lulled into a false sense of security if you’re not running an online shop or e-commerce outlet. You could be more vulnerable than you think. Cyber-attacks are historically reported to rise by up to 150% over the Christmas period each year, and here at CloudyIT we’re no strangers to this fact. Every year we help clients who have fallen victim to festive malware, ransomware attacks, file corruption, and data breaches.
And why at Christmas more than any other time? Quite simply, because it’s quiet. Maybe you have a skeleton crew on over the Christmas week. Perhaps your office shuts down entirely. Many people are just checking their email from home using a remote log in. And this lull in activity, vigilance and monitoring can essentially leave your back door wide open to less salubrious characters with malicious intentions. Remember, even if you don’t handle financial transactions, any data that you hold carries an intrinsic value, if only to ransom you in order to retrieve it.
And it’s not just attacks that can affect your IT systems over the break. Leaving your computer running unattended for any length of time, particularly with adverse weather such as high winds (which can result in power cuts or surges) or heavy rain and snow (leading to potential flooding) can put your systems at risk.
So what should you do about it? Don’t worry, we’re not suggesting you can’t have a break over Christmas! But we do recommend that you take additional precautions before closing down for a week or more:
- Make sure you have a recent back-up of all your data
- Ensure your anti-virus software is up-to-date and you have installed all the updates from your operating system
- If you use a server, make sure you have adequate back-ups and fail-overs in place
- If your desktop is usually on the floor, consider raising it up in case of flooding
- Use anti-surge extension leads or power breakers to protect against power surges that could damage your hardware
- If you don’t need to leave it running, simply shut your computer down over the break.
CloudyIT clients can rest assured that we will be running a support crew over the holidays to offer you the best level of protection over the festive season, so all that remains is for us to wish you a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year!