Protecting Yourself (and Your Business) During the Christmas Rush
David Buxton

Nobody likes to be rushed – most of us like to work at our own pace, leisurely and without stress. But come the holiday season, we all feel like we’re in a mad dash to get work finished, invoices paid, deals closed and Christmas cards sent.

But something we often forget to do is to take a moment to ensure that what we do online is safe. The truth is that a lot of online crime happens over the holiday season, simply because we’re all rushed off our feet. You might click on and download an email attachment without thinking, and before you know it, your PC is infected with malware.

An age old digital story of us not taking a moment to read the email, or scan the attachment for viruses leaves us with either an infected laptop or worse: encrypted files.

So, what can you do to help protect yourself? Here’s a few quick tips to ensure you’re safe this holiday season:

1: Watch out for an increase in phishing emails. These are emails designed to look like legitimate emails that try to get you to either download something or visit an infected site. There are tips on ways to spot them here.

2: Be wary of fake delivery scams. Similar to phishing emails (you could argue they’re one and the same, but these are designed to grab your attention with names like Amazon, or DPD) these lure you in by telling you that you’ve missed a parcel delivery – all you need to do is click the link to reschedule the delivery. Now, it’s Christmas, chances are we’ll all be ordering online, and this is where this scam works well – it’s seasonal. So beware, and check the link above for tips on how to avoid these.

3: Install anti-virus or other forms of digital protection. Ensuring that your work laptop is protected is critical. Basic protection is a must so make sure you have some installed. It’s hardly what you’d call a great Christmas gift, but if it protected your business data and kept you secure, I’m sure you’d be singing all holiday season about it.

4: Back-up – yes, it’s not sexy, but ensuring you have regular backups is critical for a startup or small business. Imagine if all your customer data was destroyed or encrypted. Not really something you’d like to entertain the idea of. Get either a separate, offline hard drive or backup to a secure cloud storage solution.

5: Watch out for social media scams – these are becoming increasingly popular amongst scammers: Scams such as these pretend to give something away on social media – all you need to do is enter your phone number or credit card details to be in with a chance of winning…. I think you can see where I’m going with this.

As ever, most of these issues can be avoided the majority of the time, but when you’re trying to wrap up the last few deals or chase down that final invoice before Christmas, it’s sometimes easy to miss or overlook something. So, follow these steps and get secured – just in time for the holiday fun to begin.