Each year the festive season sees a peak in the number of cyberattacks, with hackers attracted by an increase in online purchases and lower vigilance levels. Online security giant Kaspersky reports that holiday season hacking rates increased by over 20% in the 2017 festive season – a trend expected to rise in 2018.
“All businesses that receive customer details – especially those with e-commerce facilities – need to be hyper-alert over the summer season. Security systems must be up to date and monitored 24/7 for breaches,” says Thomas Vollrath, head of local hosting company 1-grid.com.
The most common form of attack is phishing – making up over 50% of seasonal attacks in 2017. Phishing scams are often “special offers” or well wishes from impersonators, designed to steal the account details of an online user or install malware to breach security defences. Another popular attack is a distributed disruption of service (DDOS) – which takes a machine or network down for a period of time, resulting in serious revenue loss.
Vollrath warns small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) to be extra cautious during the holiday season, offering three tips for surviving the hacking season:
- Get an SSL certificate – all websites require this tool for the encryption of data processed through your website. If your website address is prefixed with “http” rather than “https”, then your website will be marked as “insecure” on customers’ browsers.
- Invest in a website security watchdog – security products like CWatch offer 24 hour surveillance, running regular scans, checking for weaknesses, monitoring breach attempts and resolving threats before they gain access to business data.
- Educate employees – it is vital that all staff know how to recognise and avoid phishing attacks. Businesses big and small should provide online security training sessions to help employees identify common threats and know what to do or who to talk to if they think they have been compromised.
With a focus on SMBs in South Africa, 1-grid.com offers SSL certificates, web security packages, domain, web and email hosting, website design, website building and online marketing expertise to their customers. “We believe that SMBs are vital to the growth of our economy – so, we supply the expertise, support channels and tools to keep their data secure,” says Vollrath.