The holiday shopping season is one of the most high-risk times for cyber attacks -- not only on consumers but on retailers and associated businesses as well. Since many businesses put their products and services on sale to entice consumers -- who are already in the mood to shop -- threat actors are also shopping for easy and lucrative targets. It's a shopping frenzy for all involved, and there are high stakes involved with the massive volume of sales this time of year. Why should you care? Well, your business might be the next victim of a data breach if you don't understand the imminent threats. Keep reading to learn more.
The unintentional smokescreens are setting the stage
During this time of year, every business is sending emails with advertising, deals, and sales. Well, guess what? Cyber thieves are going to increase their spear-fishing attacks during this time too. The large number of transactions provide a type of cover for the stolen payment information meaning the risk of detection goes down.
Threat actors often test if credit cards are still active by executing multiple transactions of low-priced items such as a $.99 holiday gift. If the card is found to be working, then hackers will often purchase in-demand items so that they can resell them.
When busy shoppers look at their credit card statement, they may not always pinpoint the item because they've already done so much shopping themselves. For instance, if you're a holiday shopper who just bought 25 items at a superstore, are you really going to notice a transaction for $.99? Or, even $25 for that matter?
Yet, it's not just the onslaught of purchases, automation will also be a boon for cybercriminals. In fact, cyber thieves are already keen on deploying armies of what they refer to as "Grinch bots" which are designed to harvest details on gift card values, loyalty points, and customer accounts. If they come across popular products, they will sell them in secondary markets for a much higher price.
So then, businesses must be prepared for fresh new attacks during the hyper shopping frenzy. Moreover, in 2019, there appears to be an increase in typo-quatting where threat actors replicate legitimate shopping portals and steal payment information once it's entered.
Further, bad actors are sending phishing emails to customer service departments with malicious attachments impersonating customers and labeling the links as "invoice." During the seasonal spike, there is enormous pressure on customer service representatives to search through all emails to ensure every customer is satisfied and every complaint has been addressed. What might happen if a well-intentioned customer service rep opened a malicious link?
Consumers expect small businesses to be just as secure as enterprise businesses
These days, it's all about the customer experience. Further, the demanding market doesn't care whether your business is small or large -- they expect the best experiences from both. As a result, consumers won't give small businesses the benefit of the doubt when it comes to cybersecurity or cyberattacks.
As e-commerce ramps up for the holidays, shoppers will abandon their carts if they believe their information is insecure. Unfortunately, small businesses don't have access to the same types of resources as larger businesses have. Many SMBs, or startups, have inadequate IT staff and financial resources to invest in the necessary cybersecurity tools. That is, unless they partner with an MSP -- which, can actually help save on costs.
It's really a myth that to protect against cyberattacks, all you have to do is throw more money at it. That's not the case at all. What's important is that you have the right strategy, and cybersecurity partner, who can implement customized protocols that fit your specific needs. There isn't any reason to spend more money on tools that aren't going to work for your business, or don't integrate with your current systems.
Don't face the cyberattack onslaught alone
Compared to large enterprises, small businesses have to make do with a smaller budget. And, since cybersecurity technologies are constantly evolving, it can be difficult for companies of any size to stay on top of the additional complexity. On the other hand, MSPs have to stay up to date on emerging technologies. It makes sense then that many businesses, of all sizes, would partner with an experienced MSP to help their organization stay competitive and ahead of the curve. And, this becomes even more critical during the holidays.
Data has shown that many SMBs go out of business around six months after a major cyberattack. With an MSP, you can instead take a preventative approach to security via remote monitoring and management. If any issue pops up, work can be done to quickly resolve it. In addition, backup and recovery services are provided in the event of a disaster.
But, managed services can even help to reduce overall IT spending costs while increasing operational efficiency. Not to mention, the predictable costs helps with budget planning.
This holiday season, don't let cybercriminals fill your stockings with lumps of coal. If you are in the Cincinnati or Dayton area, contact Titan Tech for comprehensive cybersecurity support today. With Titan Tech, you can fill in all of your cybersecurity gaps and experience peace of mind even amidst the busiest shopping season of the year.