By Shira Landau, Editor-in-Chief, CyberTalk.org
Halloween is a widely celebrated holiday in the U.S. Seventy-three percent of Americans intend to celebrate Halloween this year, and U.S. consumers are expected to spend roughly $4.1 billion on dress-up costumes alone.
While the holiday has dark historic origins, it has largely evolved into a festive celebration that focuses on the thrills and chills from spooky costumes, haunted houses, scary movies, ghoulish tales and things that go ‘bump’ in the night. Fear is front-and-center, but the slow-burn supernatural stimuli can be devilishly fun, enjoyable and spook-takular.
Here at CyberTalk, we enjoy a good Halloween hoot as much as the next person, but we would also like to help you steer clear of spine-chilling online Halloween trickery. Your Halloween doesn’t need to include nightmarish cyber security scenarios.
This Halloween, stay safe with these pro tips.
1. Phishing. Halloween brings out the trick-or-treaters, along with the cyber criminals. The latter leverage Halloween to launch new cyber attacks designed to deceive everyday internet users into revealing passwords, sharing files, or downloading malware. For hackers, the trick is to get unsuspecting individuals to click, and the treat is business or personal identity theft, intellectual property theft or other online ills.
This Halloween, avoid new terrors, reduce risk and increase resiliency. Apply anti-phishing software across devices, employ artificial intelligence that can auto-detect anomalies, upgrade firewalls, and reappraise incident response protocols.
2. Spam emails. Hair-raising Halloween-themed spam emails are not uncommon. Hackers sometimes send the same emails year-after-year, and they’re as effective the 5th time around as they are the first. The subject lines may say “Halloween sale,” and advertise pirated goods or bogus deals, or messages may lure eager festival-of-frights revelers with Halloween-themed quizzes, surveys, and links to online videos.
Take control of the inbox. Minimize mischief by investing in anti-spam and email security software.
3. Software updates. Merciless miscreants can worm their way into network systems via unresolved software vulnerabilities. In some cases, cyber criminals then lurk in systems for days, weeks or years, eventually launching savage cyber attacks that often include much-dreaded ransomware.
By installing security patches and other updates on a regular basis, you can prevent cyber criminals from gaining a foothold in systems and accessing data, deliverables or delicate information.
4. Endpoint security. Old traditions die hard, but modernize your endpoint security to strengthen your overall security posture. Evaluate solutions for complex, cloud-based business environments that address unprecedented, sophisticated Gen V attacks. An elegant endpoint security solution can prevent some of the most frightful and haunting witchy-ness on Halloween and year-round.
5. Employee education. Costume contests, bone-chilling breakfasts, and desk decorating competitions are all part of creative office-based Halloween fun, but none are perhaps as critically important as educating around hacker-based hocus pocus. Advancing your organization’s employee awareness programming can help keep your enterprise protected 24/7/365.
Cyber threats can stab an organization in the back and make everyone’s blood boil. But the cat is out of the bag – Your organization can avoid a frightening affair or a beastly blowout by putting the pro-tips listed above into practice. After all, tricksters could tie up your infrastructure like so many strawberry twist Twizzlers, rendering your Halloween more spooky-season-haunting than fun.
Transform your organization’s cyber security routine and have a wonderfully Happy Halloween!
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