6 Holiday Cyber-Scams to Watch Out For

scam-alert.jpgHappy Holidays! – Otherwise known as primetime for cybercrime, when any Grinch can exploit the bad habits of users as easy as pumpkin pie.

Most employees treat their company devices as their personal devices. During the holidays, these users are shopping online, opening invites, and looking for deals. For uneducated users, they wind up acquiring malicious applications (Malware) online and bringing them to work. Just a little gift for you.

What does that make the holidays? The most important time of year to educate your users against attacks.

First, you need to understand these threats. Here are 6 holiday scams to educate your users on:

Christmas party scams. Between private soirees and company Christmas parties (ugly sweaters optional), there are plenty of festivities this time of year. Many fake invitations make the rounds too, baiting eager party-goers to a phony event. These are actually phishing emails that trick users into clicking through to the malicious site and installing Malware on their device.

Hot chocolate, not hotspots. When your staff wants to grab a hot cocoa and do some shopping on a Wi-Fi hotspot, it’s a recipe for trouble. Online shopping in these locales can expose user’s accounts to identity thieves, scams and hackers lurking in the corner. User beware, antivirus won’t protect you on an open network.

Bad Santa deals. This is the time of year known for jaw-dropping, riot-inducing great deals. More recently, these deals have started popping up on social networks and email campaigns. Plenty of Grinches have added their own fake offers for popular gadgets (like iPhones, iPads and Smart TVs). These offers attract victims to fraudulent websites waiting to fill their stockings with malware.

The Grinch Who Stole Your Credentials. Apps designed to help you with your holiday shopping might be malicious apps in a bad disguise, ready to snap up credentials and credit card information, steal data or even take control of a user’s device. Remember, just because it looks like it’s endorsed by Santa doesn’t mean that it really is.

No Reindeer games. Numerous websites offer full-version downloads of popular games and holiday-themed games. Sites offering full-version downloads of Grand Theft Auto or popular apps like Angry Birds often embed Trojan horse malware into the game and can target mobile users as well as desktop users.

Christmas card trouble. Electronic greeting cards are another cyber threat that can be a serious problem during holidays. E-cards that look legitimate can be used by attackers to serve malware or malicious links to compromised websites. Smartphone, tablets and PCs are susceptible to this threat.

Knowing about the threats is just the first step in combating all this holiday malware mischief. The next step is knowing how to educate your employees and what steps that you can take to protect your company. Tune in next week when we cover just that very topic!

Does your staff know how to handle Cyber-Grinches? Contact BlackPoint IT Services today at 866.575.9512 or let us know and we'll call you.