Take care this holiday season

The holidays are upon us and with them a whole range of security issues.  The local news will tell us that car break-ins rise during the holidays as thieves look for Christmas presents left in vehicles.  I’d like to point out a couple concerns that might not seem intuitive.

Watch out this time of year for more, and more convincing, phishing attempts.  With the ubiquitous use of online gift shopping, scammers will use fraudulent Amazon or UPS emails to get people to click links.  Imagine you’re waiting for your child’s Christmas gift and get an email from UPS that it can’t be delivered until after the 25th.

Also on the phishing front, holiday emails from friends, clients, vendors, etc. give an attacker another vector.  This is an especially worrisome method of installing malicious code, since many will expect animated messages.  The animation can easily hide code executing in the background.

Skimmers are also prevalent at this time of year.  Not only gas stations, but the self-checkout lines in retailers are susceptible to criminals installing devices that capture credit card information.

The holiday season is a time for family, friends, and food (not necessarily in that order.)  We just need to be extra vigilant this time of year to protect ourselves from the people who have none of those.