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Hackers Hope to Harm You with Their Hype

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Scroogey Hackers are ramping up for holiday hacking. What can you do to prevent these cyber sneak thieves from spoiling your holidays?

Scroogey Hackers are ramping up for holiday hacking. What can you do to prevent these cyber sneak thieves from spoiling your holidays?

‘Tis the season . . .

Halloween is over. Thanksgiving will be here in the wiggle of a turkey’s wattle. And then the insanity really begins.

Every business will become a madhouse this year as labor and material shortages threaten profit margins. This means, among other things, that security issues may have to take a back seat during the holiday rush. And that’s something that hackers are beginning to realize and relish.

Like vultures hovering over a desert landscape, hackers are always looking about to find the weak and vulnerable. Those whose defenses are diminishing. When a vulture finds a starving animal ready to collapse it settles down next to the poor creature and waits patiently for its chance to feast.

So it is with holiday hackers. They are waiting in the cyber shadows. Searching for defective firewalls. Probing for any security inconsistencies. And when they find a security system that is not being guarded constantly, they settle down to wait. Because they know that sooner or later that particular system will become vulnerable and then they will strike. Whether with ransomware, virus, or some other kind of malware, they will rip apart their victim and begin their grizzly cyber feasting.

Penny pinching is the hackers’ best friend.

Many were hoping during the 2020 holiday season that by 2021 the pandemic would be under control and sales and production would be back to normal. That wasn’t the case.

COVID-19 is proving to be almost intractable. So once again merchants, business people, technical support, and many other branches of online industry and commerce find it necessary to cut corners. Or start massive lay-offs again. Owners and operators of businesses, both small and great, are loath to ring in the holidays by ringing out any more employees.

At this time of year, that’s always generally bad press. And so companies look to other expedients to bring down operating expenses.

Sadly, one of the expedients most often used is to slash security budgets. This means that even though the latest security technology will stymie the most advanced hacking team, it can only be effective if it is paid for and installed.

Employers are not doing their employees any favors by skimping on security. A small business that is brought down by a cyberattack has to send everyone home for a month or more. As they try to regain control of their system, this is not a holiday present that anyone will appreciate.

The fact of the matter is that employers could serve their staff better by lowering their hours and raising security defenses, if need be, in order to keep everyone gainfully employed. Most companies make the majority of their sales during the Holidays. If their computer systems are down because of a hacking issue during this crucial time they may find it hard to recover from this critical blow.

Don’t give hackers any gifts this holiday season.

Make things hard for the black hats this holiday season. Stay on top of your cyber security, people. See to it that they are at their posts 24/7, as they are paid to do.

It may surprise some small business owners to know that holiday scheduling for security people can be very much a hit or miss proposition. Everyone wants to go home for the holidays. Grandma’s turkey with chestnut stuffing is calling. Hanukkah is pulling families to be together in the glow of the menorah.

Security workers want to forget about security during Christmas time and rejoice with peace on earth, goodwill towards men, instead of reinforcing firewalls. And of course, New Year’s is the least sober holiday on the calendar. All this means that scheduling adequate security shifts during the upcoming festive season can drive managers crazy. They are apt to cut corners by understaffing. And even the staff that is on duty is going to be distracted by a continuous round of office potlucks and other diversions.

So it’s up to the top tier of management to insist that security measures be as strong or stronger during the holidays as the rest of the year. This can be accomplished without too much fuss if owners and operators will follow this simple and basic procedure.

Don’t skimp on the holiday pay and overtime. You need these people to be alert and attentive. Be ready to repel any and all hacker attacks at any moment. So offer bonuses, paid vacation days, or whatever it takes to keep your cyber security staff at full strength during the upcoming hacker holidays.

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Becca Williams is a writer, editor, and small business owner. She writes a column for Smallbiztechnology.com and many more major media outlets.