Hackers might not take a break from trying to find ways to steal your information and money, but it turns out they do follow seasonal trends. According to a report by Kaspersky Lab, in October, phishing attempts on social networks were down 10%, and they saw an increase in attacks on financial institutions or banks and on online shops. They say that’s an expected trend through the holiday season, based on data from last year.
Summer time bring attacks on kids
During the summer months and holidays, hackers target kids who are out of school and likely don’t know better than to click bad links on social networks. Kids are also more likely to over share private information online, making them a prime target for scammers. Most of the younger generation hasn’t yet learned to be skeptical of deals that are too good, and that can get them into serious trouble. Once school starts again, the phishing attempts via email slow down, while the hackers move toward more promising targets.
Holiday shopping online makes a tempting target for hackers
When the holiday season rolls around, especially with shoppers making more online purchases, hackers turn their attention to trying to find ways into our bank accounts. Most of the time, financial institutions have solid protection in place to prevent hackers from gaining access, but when there are more transactions taking place, a few attempts can slip past security.
Social networks bumping up security
Of course, it helps that social networks are also working to fight against scammers, bringing down the number of attacks that get through. For example, Twitter has a Trust and Safety team who works daily at finding and getting rid of malicious accounts and spam, as well as alerting users who click on links that may be dangerous. Facebook is fighting back too, with a similar alert to users. They’ve also set up an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) specifically for users to report phishing attempts.
Ways you can protect your money and information during the holiday season include keeping your computer security up to date, and don’t get sucked in to believing that you can get an expensive free gift for clicking on a link or answering a survey. Make sure to shop on sites you can trust and don’t share any information that you don’t have to. Keep a close eye on your accounts, and promptly report any purchases you didn’t authorize, even if it’s for a very small amount.
Don’t let hackers keep your holidays from being happy by stealing your info and your money. Shop safely.