Cybersecurity attacks on the rise during the holidays

Posted at 6:17 PM, Dec 13, 2019

The season of gift giving brings a lot of people happiness, but the price you pay for a present can sometimes be more than you intended. Circadence CTO Bradley Hayes says cybersecurity attacks are on the rise during the holidays.

“There’s a lot more online shopping that happens during the holidays, so there’s just a richer field of targets for this,” Chief Technical Officer Bradley Hayes said.

The convenience of online shopping is attracting more and more people, but not everyone is familiar with the scams out there putting many at risk.

“Just shy of 10 percent of individuals experienced some form of identity theft during the holiday season last year,” Hayes said.

That number is expected to rise this year. Hayes says people are more likely to get their data stolen when using simple passwords, or the same password for multiple sites. He says you also need to be cautious of who you choose to store data with because there’s a possibility for any company to be breached.

“So if you’re saying ‘save my credit card information', that is a risk that you’re taking for that convenience and it might not be worth it,” Hayes said.

The internet has made it so people can fall victim to cybersecurity attacks in everyday life, but if more people understand the motivations and methods scammers are using, cybersecurity attacks might be less successful.

So why not use a game to help educate? As a company that specializes in creating cybersecurity learning platforms, Creative Director Cassie Brubaker says Circadence is now rolling out InCyt. It’s a web-based battle strategy game where you experience the cyber world from both an offensive and defensive point of view.

“I think the most unique aspect that InCyt really brings to the table is completely removing the intimidation barrier that comes with cybersecurity,” Brubaker said.

Brubaker hopes the game will make the topic of cybersecurity easy for everyone to understand covering a wide range of topics.

“We cover passwords, email security, bringing your own device into work, social networking, social engineering – what are the aspects of your social life that actually are putting you at risk of a cyber-attack?” Brubaker said.

You learn how to find information about somebody like what it means to search social media, or what it means to make a phishing call. Then you learn how that information can be used maliciously.

“Oh no, I successfully hacked her!” someone testing the game said.

Someone testing the game for the first time says she was almost creeped out learning the ways someone can discover information about you.

“Things that I hadn’t really thought of before like people listening to you,” she said.

According the Hayes, scammers during the holidays are willing to prey upon people through email, or as a seller on a marketplace website like Amazon. Any unsolicited emails should be ignored, and if something seems like too good of a deal, make sure to use a critical eye and do your research. Otherwise, you may never receive what you buy, or your personal information could be sold.

“The holidays are a time when your guard is down. You’re kind of looking at the joy of the world and buying gifts and connecting with family. And that unfortunately is also a really vulnerable time for people to not pay attention to some of the smaller details,” Brubaker said.