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The Holiday Season, How it Effects Cybersecurity and What You Should do About it.

Hello once again internet, its me your favorite (and only) Script Kitty here to wish you some holiday cheer as we talk about the holidays and what that means for Cybersecurity.

Every year during the holiday season hundreds of people go online to purchase Christmas gifts for their family members, and this influx of activity has some risk associated with it. Always remember to practice good internet hygiene as holiday themed Phishing attacks are a common occurrence as well as less than reputable sellers hawking counterfeit goods. Just because the amazon listing says it has good reviews or its a name brand product doesn’t mean it is and Amazon knows that but doesn’t care; Pro Tip always make sure you know exactly what you’re buying or at least have a look at the seller page to see if its shady.

I have 2 related articles coming out soon exposing how companies pay Facebook users to leave fake amazon reviews and how Etsy is knowingly selling fake “Handmade” goods and the proof I collected as well as their refusal to remove these products. In the mean time if something seems too good to be true it probably is, don’t risk it.

But what about once all the shopping is over? Does the risk stop once you gather with your loved ones to exchange gifts? No sadly as one big thing to be on the lookout for this holiday season as someone who is informed about Cybersecurity is configuration of new devices. It happens after someone unwraps their new smart toaster, VR headset that makes maps of your house, RGB enabled smart face mask , or something less cyberpunk like a new laptop or smart phone. Every Christmas there is a large influx new poorly secured devices coming online and the attackers know it. Many people rush to set up these devices as fast as possible and overlook important security controls thus creating this attack surface which in turn shows the true spirit of Christmas by gifting Cyber Criminals with the gift that keeps on giving. This year if you know tech gifts are coming up take the time to discuss with the gift giver beforehand and the recipient afterwards and make sure that best practices are followed and everyone stays safe this Christmas.

And of course no December would be complete without the annual SANS Holiday Hack. As they say on their website:

Join the global cybersecurity community in its most festive cyber security challenge and virtual conference of the year. The SANS Holiday Hack Challenge is a FREE series of super fun, high-quality, hands-on cybersecurity challenges where you learn new skills, help Santa defeat cybersecurity villains, and save the whole holiday season from treachery. The SANS Holiday Hack Challenge is for all skill levels, with a stellar prize at the end for the best of the best entries.

I would highly recommend everyone to check it out even if you’re new to the Infosec community there are lots of great talks by people in the industry, last year I watched a great talk by Josh Wright about open S3 buckets which I highly recommend watching as could security is still as relevant as ever perhaps even more so with more webdevs using cloud based tools. Click this hyperlink to get more information or to start playing and a big thank you to SANS for hosting this event every year. I hope to see you there this year readers, if you see me feel free to say hello.

And with that its Killer Kat signing off until next time happy holidays, stay safe out there and keep tuned for those articles exposing Amazon and Etsy for knowingly allowing fraud on their platforms.