Cyber Risks – Staying vigilant even during your time off

Cyber-attacks are more likely to occur during the weekends or on bank holidays according to a global study from cybersecurity consultancy Cybereason. Firms become more vulnerable to exposure due to having less staff to provide cover during these time periods. Staff who are feeling stressed and close to burnout in the lead-up to time off may also unwittingly cause risk while trying to quickly tie up any loose ends before signing off.

It is not wise to assume that cybercrime only happens to large businesses, or that individuals or smaller businesses are unlikely to attract the attention of a cybercriminal.

The consequences of a cyber-attack can be devastating for a business. One small mistake – an employee clicking a link in a suspicious email without thinking, for example – can have financial and legal implications, not to mention untold reputational damage. But knowing the difference between a phishing scam and a Denial of Service (DoS) attack is not enough to prevent an attack. Staff should regularly receive reminders and training on cyber risks so that they are fully confident in their ability to recognise and deal with them.

Cybercriminals do not take a break over bank holidays and weekends, so it is important to remain vigilant during these periods.

While no business is immune to the risks of cyber-attacks, taking appropriate measures can help mitigate the impact in the event of a threat. Methods to improve cyber security during bank holidays and weekends include:

  • Practice good security hygiene: Firms should have a monitoring system in place that can detect any suspicious activity on their networks. This system should be set up to send alerts to the appropriate staff members in case of any incidents. Ensure that operating systems as well as security and other general use programmes are regularly updated and patched.
  • Conduct regular vulnerability assessments: Firms should conduct regular vulnerability assessments to identify potential weaknesses in their systems. This will help them to take proactive measures to prevent cyber-attacks.
  • Have a contingency plan in place: Firms should have a plan in place that outlines the steps to be taken in the event of a cyber-attack. This response plan should include procedures for isolating affected systems, notifying relevant parties, and restoring services.
  • Utilise multi-factor authentication: Firms should implement multi-factor authentication measures to ensure that only authorised users have access to sensitive data and systems and that they can be reached in the event of a threat. Where possible, key accounts should be temporarily locked down over holidays and weekends.  
  • Encouraging staff training and awareness: human error is one of the biggest problems for cyber security. Firms should ensure that all staff members are trained on cyber security best practices. Scenario-based training, such as how to recognise a phishing email or reporting suspicious activity can help staff identify and mitigate a cyber threat. By increasing knowledge and understanding, it can help foster a culture of cyber security awareness and increase resilience.

Everyone deserves to enjoy their time off without the stress of coming back to a cyber-attack. By having the right procedures in place and staying vigilant, both you and your staff can take the time to enjoy the upcoming bank holidays in peace.

Users of the Development Zone can access a range of curated modules covering Cyber Risks and Data Protection through our Content Catalogue. 

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About the author

Jessica joined RWA in 2018, having graduated with a First Class Honours degree in Film Studies. Her role as a content designer involves developing new and engaging e-learning modules as well as assisting in the creation of articles for Insight. 

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