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Cyber Threats During The Holiday Season

As the year winds down, the holiday season brings not only joy but also a surge in cyber threats. 2023 ransomware attacks are up more than 95% when compared to 2022 based on a report by cyber-insurer Corvus. Attacks tend to ramp up during the holiday season so let's unwrap some of the festive-themed scams that might be lurking in your digital stockings.

1. Fake Twitter/Facebook Giveaway Scam:

- Where: Facebook or Twitter

- Action: Share a post, possibly complete surveys

- Scammers exploit the holiday spirit, enticing users with fake competitions and giveaways, leading to likes, shares, and clicks on dubious links. Beware of tempting online vouchers and "unsealed" electronics offers.

2. Package Delivery FAIL Scam:

- Where: Your email

- Action: Open an email attachment

- Taking advantage of the season's increased parcel deliveries, scammers send emails claiming a failed delivery. Be cautious; legitimate couriers don't require you to open attachments for redelivery arrangements.

3. E-Card Malware Scam:

- Where: Email or social media links

- Action: Visit a website or open an email attachment

- Cyber grinches may disguise malware as festive e-cards. Confirm sender authenticity before clicking any links, and never open anonymous greetings. Avoid downloading software prompted by e-cards.

4. Fake Retail Website Scam:

- Where: Online

- Action: Purchase items

- Beware of too-good-to-be-true deals on fake retail websites. Stick to reputable sites, especially when deals seem overly generous. Some sites may deliver knock-off goods or have hidden costs.

5. Amazon Invoice/Receipt Scam:

- Where: Your email

- Action: Open an attachment

- Scammers exploit the holiday shopping rush with fake Amazon receipts containing malware. Legitimate Amazon receipts do not have attachments. Exercise caution and verify the legitimacy of unexpected email attachments.

6. Festive Themed Phishing Scams:

- Where: Email or social media

- Action: Visit a website and login

- Phishing scammers create holiday-themed traps using popular sites like Amazon. Always double-check the website's authenticity before entering login credentials.

7. Fake Charity Scam:

- Where: Email or social media

- Action: Donate to charity

- Scammers prey on holiday generosity with fake charity emails or links. Avoid responding directly; instead, visit the charity's official website to make donations.

8. Keylogging Malware:

- Where: Unseen

- Action: None

- Guard against keylogging malware aiming to steal sensitive information. Regularly scan your computer with antivirus/malware protection and avoid online transactions on public computers.

9. The "On Vacation" Scam:

- Where: Unseen

- Action: None

- Be cautious about publicly sharing vacation plans on social media during the holidays. Criminals may exploit this information to target empty homes.

10. Holiday Lottery Scam:

- Where: Your email

- Action: Respond to claim your winnings

- Don't fall for the holiday-themed "419 Nigerian" advance fee fraud lottery scams. Legitimate lotteries never ask for payment to claim winnings.

11. Festive Themed Download Scam:

- Where: Search results, website ads, or email

- Action: Download free festive-themed content

- Exercise caution when downloading holiday-themed files. Scammers often use search engines to promote malware-laden pages. Stick to reputable websites and keep security software up-to-date.

Stay vigilant, stay safe, and enjoy a cyber-safe holiday season!