Merry and malicious: the 24/7 reality of cyber threats at Christmas

Merry and malicious: the 24/7 reality of cyber threats at Christmas

In recent years, cyber-crime has become increasingly prevalent, with sophisticated fraudsters finding new ways to exploit individuals and organisations. According to the latest quarterly Fraud and Cyber Crime Report, Brits lost a staggering £3.4 billion to fraudsters in the past 12 months. In this ever-evolving landscape, protecting yourself online is more important than ever. 

In Q2 of 2023 alone, corporate business was in the top five of categories targeted by cyber criminals. There were an astounding 1451 reports of cyber attacks made in the corporate sector in Q2, resulting in £31 million in losses with an average loss per case of £21,433. Although this number is likely to be much higher, as we know that not all cases are reported. 

The public sector saw £51.9 million in losses with an average loss per case of £249,519. Despite having a much lower number of reported cyber-attacks, the public sector lost 67.4% more in revenue than their corporate sector counterparts.   

Just like any other business, the adult social care sector is at risk of being targeted by cyber criminals, and with care providers responsible for holding lots of personal information about people, it’s really important that it is kept secure.  

With Christmas on the horizon, cyber criminals know that you’ll be busy coordinating your last minute tasks. They’ll know that you will have less staff on duty, and a relatively long to-do list.  

There are lots of things you can do to protect your care service and have a fraud-free Christmas. Here are some easy wins that you can implement now: 

  • Strengthen Passwords: Ensure your online accounts have strong, unique passwords. Combine uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols. Consider using a password manager for added security. 
  • Don’t fall for excellent deals: Cyber criminals know that thousands of people will be panicking with their last minute shopping this Christmas. They might try to lure you in with an offer you can’t refuse to sell counterfeit or non-existent items, and will retain your personal information. 
  • Update antivirus software: Keep your devices protected by maintaining up-to-date antivirus software on your computer, phone, and tablet. 
  • Be wary of emails, texts and calls : Legitimate organisations will not ask for personal information over the phone or email. Postal scams are very common this time of year, so always check sender addresses on emails and if you’re ever unsure just contact the sender through an official channel.  
  • Verify website authenticity: Check the website URL for legitimacy. Look for secure connections (https://) and a padlock symbol which indicates a secure server. 
  • Lock up on leave: If you’re taking some time off over Christmas make sure your paper files are organised and locked away. Ensure your digital devices are all shut down and secured. 
  • Get free, expert support: Better Security, Better Care is here to help all care providers with their data protection and cyber security arrangements. If you’ve got a quiet moment over Christmas and want to protect your digital systems ahead of the new year, why not use the Data Security & Protection Toolkit?  

Looking after your digital systems doesn’t have to be difficult and there is a lot of free support available to help you. You don’t want any nasty surprises when you step into 2024, so stay safe this Christmas and start the new year with digital confidence.  

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