New year, new security: Is your website prepared for the extra traffic?

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It's not just retailers that could have profited from this busy spending season; it's cyber hackers, according to Espria, Managed IT, Document Solutions & Communications specialists.

As the dust settles and the year begins, it is no surprise that businesses have profited over the last few months and will continue to do so as the shopping season persists.

This past retail rush has provided the perfect opportunity for cybercriminals to compromise sensitive data through phishing emails disguised as limited-time offers, inciting a sense of urgency and luring victims.

To ensure a secure and prosperous year ahead, businesses must stay vigilant against potential attacks and fortify security measures on their websites.

CTO of Espria, Dave Adamson, points out that during these recent holiday seasons, these all too familiar attack vectors have threatened to dampen the holiday spirit.

“There is no doubt that holiday seasons are always, and will continue to be, filled with cyber disruption, with sophisticated festive phishing and a recent surge in ransomware. As we enter the New Year, the 'hacking season' to come requires all the help security teams can get from best-in-class technology to monitor their digital enterprise 365 days a year.

Hackers are targeting not just retail but also professional services businesses in countless ways and holding the data they access to ransom.”

The first step is to communicate with customers and employees

Be on the lookout for fake websites and social media pages so that you can warn your customers about them. Event weekends and holiday sales is a time for extra caution. The same applies to employees. To avoid becoming a victim of social engineering, implement a firm password policy and warn the employees about messages from unknown people.

Develop and implement a Security Awareness program

An organisation must have employee buy-in at all levels, not just IT, to prevent being a cyberattack victim. Human error or employee manipulation accounts for the vast majority ofattacks.

Organisations must take every precaution to prevent their staff from being the cause of the breach. This usually takes the form of cybersecurity awareness training. During security awareness training, employees are trained to recognise a malicious phishing attempt and what to do when they see something suspicious.

Make sure all employees' emails are protected

Our email accounts are often the pathway to all our other valuable accounts and the means to communicate with our friends, family, and colleagues. Hackers may try to obtain our email passwords through credential stuffing, social engineering, or phishing scams to gain access to other services. We should protect our email accounts by using strong passwords, enabling two-factor authentication, and avoiding clicking suspicious links.

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