The holiday season is now in full swing where people travel to far off destinations to enjoy a well earned break and to spend time with their families. Unfortutely the cyber threat remains with us …… and arguably is increased as people’s guard is somewhat down due to the relaxed environment that being on holiday promotes.
A survey carried out by Keeper Security Inc last year showed that the US posed to the greatest threat to holiday makers from hackers, however more worryingly the UK came in a second place with France, Spain and Italy also featuring in the top ten.
Some of the cyber threats that exist to indivuals and businesses are as follows :-
Insecure Wi-Fi Networks
A hotel wi-if network may be vulnerable if not secured with the latest security encryption software. This could also be said of restaurants or cafes. Attacks know as “Man in the Middle” where a third party is listening and changing information pretending to both the user and the application can intercept highly sensitive data and use this to compromise a users details.
GCHQ regularly warn travellers of the threats posed by insecure wi-fi networks and the holidayseason is when these threats become more prevalent. It is therefore important to check that the wi-if has the appropriate safety protocols in place in particularly when money is being transacted.
Holiday Scam E-mails
It is conceivable that an individual could fall foul of a hacker before they leave their house .Holiday scam e-mails may portray a bogus website that offers a holiday deal which is too good to be true and the likelihood is that this could well be the case. Funds could be stolen by an on-line transaction with debit or credit card details also being compromised by a hacker.
Leaving a laptop or smart phone on your beach towel of on a cafe table opens opportunity for a speculative hacker to steal an electronic device and use data themselves or to post on the dark web to be sold at a later date.
Keeping a tight ship
The same principle applies to businesses during the holiday season who may not have their usual numbers in their cyber security team which creates an environment where threats could be missed or not acted upon as quickly as normal. A greater reliance therefore is imposed on everyday users to carry out good cyber hygiene in their everyday work schedule. Watching out for phishing e-mails and dubious website links which could lead for example to an incident of fraud or a ransom ware attack.
Once back home it is good housekeeping to to check matters such as bank statements to ensure that no fraudulent transactions have taken place and that you can account for everything spent.
At work looking for any unusual e-mail activity or change in the functionality of your computer in case a virus may have downloaded itself whilst you were away.
Wherever you are on holiday cyber threats exist in many forms , hackers do not go on holiday so it is vitally important that you maintain the same cyber security posture.