How Christmas Became a Peak Time for Hackers
As the festive season approaches, the air is filled with joy, decorations adorn homes, and families gather to celebrate Christmas. However, this time of year also brings a different kind of tradition — Christmas Day has evolved into a prime occasion for hackers to showcase their skills, wreak havoc, and exploit vulnerabilities.
The Grinch Who Stole Gaming:
Five years ago, the notorious hacking group known as the Lizard Squad launched an attack on the Xbox and PlayStation networks… on Christmas eve! The result? Thousands of gamers woke up to non-functional consoles, turning their anticipated gaming sessions into a holiday disappointment. This incident marked the beginning of a troubling trend that has persisted every Christmas since.
The Rise of Christmas Cyber Attacks:
Christmas Day has now become infamous in the cybersecurity calendar. While families unwrap presents and enjoy festive meals, we security professionals find ourselves on high alert, defending against waves of malicious attacks. For hackers, it’s a prime opportunity to flex their muscles, intentionally causing frustration, or attempting to extort money from understaffed businesses. The attacks, often executed through Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) attacks, aim to overload network servers with artificial traffic, rendering them temporarily useless.
The Timing Game:
Hackers strategically choose times like Christmas, evenings, and weekends because there are fewer staff available for prevention and recovery. With many businesses operating with reduced personnel during the holiday season, the window of opportunity for cyberattacks widens, making it essential for businesses to remain vigilant.
A VMhost customer, using our Veeam Cloud Connect Backup as a Service offering, benefited firsthand from the “insider protection” offered after a ransomware attack on Christmas Eve left them with all production data and onsite backups lost. This highlights the critical importance of robust cybersecurity measures, especially during vulnerable times.
Tips for a Secure Christmas:
In the face of these evolving threats, you can take steps to protect yourself. For example: Only buy from trusted online retailers, be cautious with email interactions, and avoid clicking on links in suspicious messages. As Christmas approaches, we recommend vigilance and proactive cybersecurity measures to ensure a secure and joyous holiday season.
This Christmas, let’s be mindful of the cyber Grinches seeking to disrupt our celebrations. Download our free cyber security guide to ensure you have your foundations in place and if you need help contact us today for expert advice.