Tired of cybersecurity advice that doesn’t actually help? We are writing this for you.

The year is coming to a close. Everyone is occupied, including the security teams. Cybercriminals are preparing attacks because they are aware of this.

The number of attempted ransomware assaults has grown 30% year over year globally over the holiday season. Additionally, compared to January and February, November and December tend to see a 70% average increase in attempted ransomware assaults.

According to research from the retail and hotel industries, the holiday season saw an increase in phishing attempts that target specific products or executives, fake websites, and product-focused phishing attacks. The survey also noted a rise in the frequency of social engineering attempts that were primarily aimed at gathering credentials or evading multifactor authentication (MFA).

What happens when individuals leave for the holidays when security teams are already overworked? Your data, systems, and networks are made even more susceptible by a lack of staff. Do you have a holiday response strategy in place in case there is an incident?

Let’s look at some incredibly helpful advice for preventing cyberattacks over the holidays.


Tip 1: Have a Response Team in place

Make sure you are aware of who to contact in case a cyber issue occurs before you leave for the holidays. You should specify in writing who is on call when and for what reason.

There should always be on-call staff members available. Teams that respond to incidents effectively ought to be aware of their duties. Still, it’s important to identify who will be in charge during the holidays given how stressful the end of the year may be.


Tip 2: Managed Detection and Response


Some businesses assign managed detection and response (MDR) providers to security-related activities. After that, it is the third party’s responsibility to offer complete coverage on holidays and weekends. Full threat lifecycle management may be handled by MDR solutions, which offer turnkey support for industry-leading endpoint and network security technologies.

The truth is that many firms lack the security expertise necessary to counter sophisticated and advanced threats due to the growing complexity of malevolent and automated cyber threats. Even businesses with the necessary knowledge frequently struggle to manage too many security tools and alerts to effectively lower mean time to resolution (MTTR).

Security analyst fatigue is caused by alert overload and time-consuming investigations. The reality of today, however, necessitates 24-hour monitoring to look into alarms because threat actors frequently launch attacks on weekends and public holidays.

Managed detection and response is a desirable option for security teams that lack the knowledge or team size to keep up robust security during lean staffing periods for this reason. Services like alert management, threat containment, incident response, and proactive threat hunting can all be included in MDR.


Tip 3: Be Extracareful with Downloads, Emails, and Messages


Everyone is rushing to finish their work, therefore we might not be as vigilant about attentively reading emails. Keep in mind that most malware still enters computers and networks through human error. Even the most cautious among us occasionally open harmful files or click on links.

Cybercriminals continue to benefit from social engineering attacks. Therefore, stay on the lookout for any contact, even if it seems to come from a reliable source. Any unwanted messages should always be viewed with the utmost skepticism by all staff.

Stop and carefully review the entire context if a request seems odd: Who is the sender of the message? Is the domain name or email address legitimate? Take another look. If you’re rushing to go, typosquatting attacks and minor misspellings can go undetected.

Additionally, you can run internal phishing drills. This entails purposefully sending out phony emails to test and inform your personnel. Praise them when they identify a suspicious email. Show them their error if they fall for the bait.


Top 4: Lockdown Privileged Accounts


Some security experts advise locking down privileged accounts throughout the holidays and weekends. Escalating privileges to the admin level allows attackers to introduce malware after breaching networks. Weekends and holidays rarely call for high-level access.

Security teams have the option of establishing extremely protected, emergency-only accounts in the active directory. These accounts would only be utilized if operational accounts were inaccessible due to a ransomware attack or if other operational accounts were momentarily disabled.

Adopting privileged access control would be an even better course of action (PAM). This is a calculated strategy for deciding who should have special access to the network. PAM manages access to infrastructure and applications that are included in it. This frequently entails employing a single point of management for administrators and a single point of sign-on for users.

A fully managed PAM program may offer direction from strategy through steady-state management, especially in hybrid cloud environments. To secure your privileged users, PAM can also offer automation, analytics, and optimization.

Tip 5: Establish a Clear Strategy for Isolation


Isolation prevents hackers from breaking into the network again and from distributing malware to other devices or systems. Security teams get ready to shut down a hacked account, disconnect a host, and block harmful domains. Drills that are planned or spontaneous help ensure that all employees and processes will function properly in the event of a breach.

In a real-world cyber incident, isolation could be challenging to implement as networks become more complicated. Extended detection and response (XDR) has become very popular as a result.

In essence, XDR consolidates all the anchor tenants needed to identify threats and take appropriate action in one location for simpler analysis. The security teams are now able to act swiftly without being bogged down in various use cases, workflows, and search languages. Additionally, XDR enables security analysts to react rapidly without having to write countless playbooks to account for every conceivable scenario.

Endpoint detection and response (EDR), network data, security analytics logs and events, as well as data protection and cloud workload solutions, are all integrated within XDR. This paints a thorough picture of potential dangers. To respond fast across a complicated IT and security infrastructure, automation is being deployed for root cause analysis and suggested responses.


Keep Your Business Safe During the Holidays

If you paid attention, you would be aware that many of these suggestions can’t be put into practice right now. Strong security is still being established, and this campaign won’t end with the new year. Your IT assets and resources will be safer throughout the holidays and beyond as your strategy and methods advance.