Why public holidays are like Christmas for cybercriminals

In the last 12 months alone, 39% of UK businesses have spotted an attempt to breach their systems but a large percentage of unauthorised access is still going unnoticed. A common tactic employed by cybercrooks is to slip under the radar and launch an attack at a time when victims are caught off guard such as late afternoon ahead of the weekend. This has had devastating consequences especially for the property industry, as this is when deals usual close.

However, public holidays provide a lucrative opportunity for criminals, why? Take the festive season for example, spirits are high but it’s also a stressful time for business owners and their teams. Welsh retailers’ tills are (hopefully) ringing loudly from the cyber events and late-night shopping, restaurants from Abergavenny to Anglesey are extremely busy with Christmas party bookings and suppliers will be stretched to get deliveries to their destinations on time.

Everyone is tired. Adrenaline is powering people through so they can leave on time and make the most of any additional days off but we’re all human and our defences are bound to slip from time to time. And this is why a cybercriminal’s campaign to attack your business could have already started.

Phishing emails work incredibly well as they can appear to be genuine. Hackers will impersonate someone known to the business whether that’s an employee, client, supplier or your bank. The message will likely ask you to confirm or share sensitive company details immediately or ask you to urgently click a link, which then activates the installation of malware onto your computer.

If you’re rushing to leave work, a lapse in judgement could see you following the bogus instructions while you’re heading out the door for a few days’ rest and relaxation. Online hackers know you won’t be back for a while which leaves them plenty of time to view and steal business-critical data, access your company bank account, find out personal details of the team, deny you access to your systems, takeover your social channels…the list goes on and you return to complete carnage.

Ransomware is the most aggressive and biggest threat to all businesses in Wales, the UK and beyond, regardless of size. This is where your systems are infiltrated, locking you out, with a ransom demand being made in order to have the data returned to you. While the Colonial Pipeline and