This Holiday Season, Watch Out for Unexpected Gifts


cyber hacker using a computer to get infoDespite a particularly difficult year, there are still many “Grinches” out there seeking to cause harm in the form of cybercrime. At Hartman, we’re seeing a rise in phishing attacks of all kinds across all industries and types of organizations. Cyber criminals know that people are distracted and multitasking during the holiday season, and they don’t hesitate to take full advantage.

It is critical that leaders instruct their employees to slow down and keep an eye open for the major indicators of a phishing email.

Beware of the following:

  • There is always a sense of urgency that is created by the email. For example, “You must change your password” or “You must respond or your account will be removed.”
  • There are often spelling or grammar mistakes. These can be very subtle, with perhaps only one letter changed in an email address or domain.
  • There is often a financial or enticing gain. For example, more money, great savings, a package, days off, etc.

Here are a few additional email safety tips to keep in mind at all times:

  • Keep a particularly critical eye out for shipping notifications and links from FedEx, UPS or other carriers.
  • If your organization has implemented an “External” feature on email, make sure you’re always looking there first to see whether an email has originated from somewhere outside your organization.
  • Always be 100% clear where you are before you enter your credentials. Your credentials are the most important and sensitive piece of information you control.

employee on his computer checking emails Clicking one wrong link can compromise system data without any immediate indication to the user. Examples of this are the harvesting of user contacts such as names, emails, phone numbers, and potentially other personally identifiable information the user has in a contact list. These can then show up in an organization’s client’s email boxes. What seemed to be a benign event can cause unintended issues, thus the unwanted and unexpected “gift.”

Organizations rely on their employees to slow down and be crystal clear about what they are opening, clicking and where they are entering credentials.

Contact Hartman Executive Advisors

Hartman Executive Advisors helps business leaders develop comprehensive risk management strategies that include employee training and testing. Contact us today to discuss your situation and learn how we can guide your organization toward a strong cybersecurity posture.


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