The Hidden Cyber Threats Heating Up the Winter

Hackers are most likely to attack during winter - here's what you can do about it.

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As winter ensues, businesses are returning from the festive season, but there's danger lurking in the digital landscape. During this winter season, hackers are gearing up for their prime time. 

According to a recent survey by Defcon, a staggering 81 percent of hackers admit to being more active during specific periods. Shockingly, six percent of hackers target Christmas, deeming it the ideal time to infiltrate corporate networks, while 25 percent see New Year's Eve as the perfect opportunity and 29 percent see the lagging winter months as the optimal moment.

This alarming statistic highlights the need for heightened vigilance. Cybercriminals are well aware of the distractions and reduced security efforts that often accompany the festive season, making it a prime time for them to strike. And this does get very expensive. 

Size Doesn't Matter

Many mistakenly believe they are too small to worry about cyber attacks. However, up to 80 percent of data breaches stem from common vulnerabilities, and these issues are not exclusive to business size. The Common Vulnerability Scoring System (CVSS) assesses factors like ease of access and complexity, showing that vulnerability has no correlation with the size of your business.

When a hacker successfully breaches the likes of Facebook, it's like finding a needle in a digital haystack. This is a media-worthy moment, but these moments come few and far between. Hacking a large enterprise is a big payday for a hacker, not their bread and butter. The majority of hackers feed off smaller companies and startups in the hopes of landing a Facebook.

These hacks never reaches the media, which creates a false perception that this is a big company problem. When in fact, large corporations are the minority and small business owners are the real targets when it comes to cyber security attacks. It's been reported that 61 percent of SMBs were the target of a Cyberattack in 2021 and 46 percent of all cyber breaches impact businesses with fewer than 1,000 employees, according to Verizon's recent 2023 Data Breach Investigations Report.

A cyber attack occurs every 39 seconds. It's crucial for business stakeholders to recognize the real risks they face in the digital landscape. This is what you can do today to protect your business from this winter's cyber attacks:

  • Penetration Testing. First of all, get tested. A bit like going for a health check-up, we need to identify your weaknesses and vulnerabilities before the cybercriminals get a chance to exploit these holes in your security.  Businesses should conduct a penetration test every 12 months to understand how exposed they are to threats. Many businesses choose to use an integrated suite, allowing full visibility on lead-time, cost and findings.
  • Threat Intelligence. Set-up a simple digital system surveillance so we can detect who is attempting to hack us, i.e. attack surface monitoring. Businesses are able to gather and analyze information about potential or current cyber threats. Allowing businesses to always stay one-step ahead of the modern cyber criminals and ensure sensitive data remains secure..
  • Vulnerability Management. 60 percent of breaches are linked to poor patch management. We already know that cyber-attackers constantly mass-scan the internet for known vulnerabilities that can be used to compromise organizations. Vulnerability scanning helps you detect and remediate vulnerabilities in your infrastructure rapidly, checking against over 20,000 common entry routes and drastically reducing opportunities for attack.

By adopting these measures and prioritizing cybersecurity, you can navigate the winter season with confidence, knowing they've secured their digital infrastructure against potential threats.

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