In November, McAfee a cybersecurity company, released their findings from a recent survey focused on holiday scams. The survey revealed that nearly half (48%) of Americans have either fallen victim or know someone who has fallen victim to robocalling in 2019. The use of robocalling has grown in recent years and this statistic makes it one to watch out for this holiday season. This is not the only scam to look out for though. Email phishing and text phishing (41% and 35% respectively) are still popular methods being used by hackers.
While these scams may not be multi-million dollar breaches you read about in the news 74% said that they lost more than $100 and 30% lost more than $500. With a growing number of stolen credentials being made available for cybercriminals to purchase on the dark web it only increases the likelihood that these numbers will increase this year. The troubling fact is that while many people may be aware of the threat over the holidays, they won’t actually do anything about it to protect themselves.
The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) issued a statement and encourages users to be aware of potential holiday scams and malicious cyber campaigns, particularly when browsing or shopping online. Cyber actors may send emails and ecards containing malicious links or attachments infected with malware or may send spoofed emails requesting support for fraudulent charities or causes.
CISA encourages users to remain vigilant and take the following precautions:
- Avoid clicking on links in unsolicited emails and be wary of email attachments (see Using Caution with Email Attachments and Avoiding Social Engineering and Phishing Scams).
- Use caution when shopping online (see Shopping Safely Online).
- Verify a charity’s authenticity before making donations. Review the Federal Trade Commission’s page on Charity Scams for more information.
In addition to these precautions we recommend:
- Never reusing passwords and always using a strong password (capital letters, numbers, symbols all mixed in).
- If you get an email from someone you know that appears suspicious always check with them before acting on anything the email requests.
- Using two-factor authentication when possible
The holiday season is meant to be spent together with loved ones, not dealing with the stress of recovering from a hacker. Keep these tips in mind this holiday season for a safe and happy end of the year. Remember, if you are ever suspicious of anything you can always reach out to the SWK team for help, or if you are looking for more ways to protect you and your employees, contact us to learn about the solutions we have that will help.