Growth Customer Experience Productivity Business IQ Trends Success Stories Tech Awards Business Tools Business Intelligence Subscribe Tech Enquiry
Business IQ

Steer clear of net nasties this christmas

Krishan Sharma
Technology Journalist

Krishan Sharma is a freelance journalist who writes for various consumer tech and business IT publications

Krishan Sharma
Technology Journalist

Krishan Sharma is a freelance journalist who writes for various consumer tech and business IT publications

Think twice before opening that digital Christmas card or clicking on that festive-looking link, internet security experts and consumer authorities warn.

That animated Santa Claus e-card or email from the courier asking you to collect a parcel may look innocent enough, but it could have the potential to ruin your Christmas.

Daniel Kadane product specialist for security software maker Kaspersky Lab, explains that hackers take advantage of the holiday season to catch consumers unaware and plant malicious software on their computers.

“Cyber criminals, as a whole, tend to target their attacks depending on the time of the year. Heading up to the Christmas period one thing they tend to focus on is either phishing or spam attacks around online shopping. We see a huge spike around this time of year...”

He says the aim is to lure unsuspecting consumers to websites capable of infecting their computers with malware designed to compromise their private data. These so-called ‘drive-by’ attacks often go undetected by victims leaving them vulnerable to divulging internet banking details.

Christmas criminal Christmas present

Held ransom by hackers

During the Christmas holiday season, the fraudulent spam emails frequently exploit the brands of trusted online shopping sites and courier services.

Ty Miller, founder of computer security consultancy Threat Intelligence said one of the most worrying developments in data protection was the rise of so-called ‘ransomware’ – malware that effectively locks the victim’s computer data in a virtual vault that can’t be opened unless the victim pays a fee.

“Those emails tend to be distributed seasonally so coming up to Christmas you’re probably going to see emails from [a courier] saying that they have a package waiting and to click a link to get details,” says Ty.

There is also another prevalent form of malware that is capable of intercepting internet banking sessions that collects login credentials and credit card information.

“It’ll actually re-write your internet banking page so that it will collect your username and password, and sometimes it may inject new fields to collect your credit card number,” he warned.

More than just emails

However, the potential for digital grief over Christmas doesn’t stop at emails. Animated e-cards and even free mobile phone games can also comprise consumers’ information security.

Consumers should pay close attention to the party sending the email containing the link and “make sure it’s coming from a trusted party and even check that the wording looks like it’s coming from the person who purportedly sent it” he explained.

In recent years the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) had received hundreds of complaints about scams that resulted in financial losses reaching well into the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Stay on top of your cyber security

Ensure that your business hasn’t been compromised by chatting to the experts using Telstra’s Tech Enquiry.

 

Don’t let criminals scam you this Christmas.

Take Telstra’s cyber security quiz to find out how safe you are.

Find out moreDon’t let criminals scam you this Christmas.

Originally published December 22nd 2014. Updated August 1st 2019.

Telstra Business Intelligence Report 2020 on Digital Marketing
Trends
Introducing Telstra Business Intelligence 2020

While no two small or medium-sized businesses are identical, there’s one thing that most share – a scarcity of resources. When you’re overseeing daily operations, it can be cha...

Delivery person receiving take out food
Trends
Hospitality goes digital: 3 ways venues are adapting to COVID-19

Social togetherness is the essence of the hospitality industry. When this core ingredient was taken away from cafes, bars and restaurants, many were forced to change their usua...

Man types on laptop
Customer Experience
Customer Experience
How exceptional customer service translates to the digital world

Finding – and keeping – your competitive edge as a business is a tricky affair. If you’ve made a recent pivot to online trade, the way you interact with your consumers has like...

Making a video on a smartphone
Customer Experience
Customer Experience
Small businesses are bigger with video

It’s no secret that video is an excellent medium to deliver a marketing message. Whether your objective is brand awareness, product education or sales, nothing captures attenti...