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Holiday online shopping discounts mean employees forget or ignore basic email and web security

Posted by Geraldine Hunt on Wed, Nov 26th, 2014

Are your employees ignorning basic email and web security  precautions? Is your company network security poised and ready for the annual shopping fest that is thanksgiving weekend? As discount codes do the rounds and  employee email inboxes fill with Black Friday and Cyber Monday special offers the risk of phishing and spam emails being treated as legitimate increases.  The month between Thanksgiving and Christmas are the biggest weeks for online spammers with 80 percent of annual online sales happening during that period. And the weekend from Black Friday' through to  ‘Cyber Monday' are the busiest four days of the year for online shopping. Much of the online scams also go down this weekend.

80% of all online shopping takes place during office hours

Cyber Monday came into being in 2005 when it was noticed that there was a spike in online sales the Monday after Thanksgiving, it’s essentially an attempt to jumpstart the holiday spending season. As on-line shopping gets more and more popular the significance of days like Cyber Monday lessens, some believe every day in the lead up to Christmas is a cyber shopping day. Even though Cyber Monday is expected to be the biggest shopping day this year, with retailers offering compelling bargains, industry watchers say it’s just a matter of time before other days take over in terms of the amount of on-line shopping.

Cyber Monday is for most a normal workday which means workers will likely be using their employers' computers and networks to take advantage of these on line bargains. As people get carried away with seemingly phenomenal offers the thrill of the bargain will see many momentarily forgetting even the basic email security precautions.

For employers there’s a lot at risk –the stakes are high. With 80% of all online shopping taking place during office hours, employers need to be sure that when employees are shopping on line using company equipment they are accessing safe and protected sites and not exposing the network and organisation to threats that could have serious security and ultimately financial consequences.

Is your network exposed to threats that could have serious security and financial consequences?

A recent survey by Robert Half Technology, found that 23% of CIOs said that although their companies do allow access to shopping sites, they monitor employees for excessive use. These companies have the capability to flexibly manage internet activity and their web filtering solution provides the protection by ensuring that only access to secure website is permitted.

Organisations need to remain vigilant and follow proven email and web security guidelines such as not clicking on links or attachments in unsolicited emails, only using recognised shopping site that use secure browsing facilities and keeping your  business anti spam, anti phishing and web security solutions up-to-date. User awareness is key and awareness training should be a part of every corporate security program.

According to a report earlier this year, global cybercrime had 431 million adult victims in the past year, costing countries $114 billion. Don't be the next victim, download our guide on ‘How Cybercriminals Steal Money’ which looks at some of the ways cybercriminals try to steal your organisations money and how you can mitigate these threats. We can expect that cybercrime will increase and that your organization and you are certainly going to be a target at some point.  The important thing to do is plan for that.

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