Christmas is just around the corner. You can smell it in the air, the streets get full of colors and rivers of people are walking around, hiding under their warm coat while looking for the right presents to buy. Shops are full of products and interesting deals meant to entice buyers.

Read through this post and use the list of tools that Advantio has selected for you to monitor the security status of your business. Or skip directly to the list of tools if you’re in a hurry.

ING Christmas spending europe

Why should you increase the control of your security status during Christmas?

Being a bank, a merchant or a customer, everybody is busy getting things done during these exciting days. Some percentages can help to have a clearer overview of how money floats around during the Christmas period.

A recent study by ING has been focusing - among other topics - on the average spending on Christmas presents per country within Europe.

Average spending on Christmas presents

It's interesting to see how the citizens of each country spend and save their money in different ways, and learn that the average spending in this period of the year, is 200,- euros per capita. In other words, European consumers will spend an average of 200,- euro each buying presents and goods this year.

That is a lot of money floating around the network! And a very large proportion of these payment transactions will be completed using a payment card either in shops or through websites (online transaction processing).

Where is all that money going?

In this time of the year commercial activities can make a great profit with interesting deals. This is a list of places where most customers will spend some of their savings during the Christmas period.

  • Discount shops
  • Holidays agencies
  • Grocery stores
  • Accessories shops
  • Electronic stores
  • Drug stores
  • Craft and fabric stores

But let’s not forget about donations, charity and all the type of gifts which also involve transactions (eMoney, Banks, Financial Institutions) during the festive period.

So what does this mean?

The consequent increase of traffic and number of payments will bring at the same time a higher risk of attacks from cyber criminals. Hackers may try to exploit this busy time and attempt to steal credit card details and personal data of your customers.

This would result in a series of problems for both you and your customers. Fines, damage to your business reputation and consequent decrease of your business are the type of problems that should pop in your mind and should be your call to action. Not to talk about the loss of money from your customers side.

Secure your network not only for the sake of following the official security standards, which need to be respected of course. Being secure and compliant it’s a sign of respect towards your customers. It's an investment that you make for the future of your business.

How much money can a low security level cost to companies?

An interesting study to take a look at, is the one that HP has recently published. It’s called “Understand the cost of cyber security crime”. The report is visible here upon subscription.

Note how the cost of cybercrime sustained by companies are constantly growing (95% increase in 4 years). Most of the times the additional spending is caused by a low level of security measures in place, loss of information and opportunities, lack of trust from customers and prospects.

Understand the cost of cyber security crime

As you can see on the right side of the graph, the effectiveness of hackers attacks is successful at a growing pace (144% increase in 4 years). Businesses are under constant threat.

Moreover, according to the HP research, the resolution time dedicated to security related problems is growing. During the last 4 years, companies needed an average of 45 minutes extra to bring their security level back to normality when a weakness shows up.

ING Christmas spending europe

HP suggests to take care of a series of tasks, in order to help companies to save their money. This applies in various shapes to small, medium and large entities. 

According to HP, one of the investments to make is to dedicate additional time, attention and expertise to the security tasks.

Complexity is growing in this field together with the change in the habits of the consumers. Payment cards are used for any type of transaction, online payments are more and more common while the use of cash is sensitively decreasing.

Merchants and authorities who guarantee the security of payments should keep constantly their eyes on security tasks.

Back to Advantio Christmas Goodies Bag.

In order to suport our followers to monitor their security status, we decided to come up with a Christmas Goodies Bag that will include a list of free tools selected and approved by Advantio. You can use them on your own to monitor your web site, application, software, network and assets and keep them under control by setting automatic notifications.

# Tool name/URL Description
1 Two Factor Make sure that each step of an authentication involves two different and independent authentication factors. Two-factor authentication is becoming increasingly widespread and should be enabled wherever it is available.
2 Whois Check the domain registration of the organisation. It can be useful to check how long the website has been registered to determine if the organisation is a ‘fly-by-night’ organisation
3 SSL Labs Protect your domain and information with the purchase and installation of a SSL Certificate. If you run a website it is important that the SSL is configured correctly, test your’s for free
4 Google Alerts Find out whether someone accidentally publishes something to your website. Set up your personalized alerts and get notified when something relevant happens.
5 Qualys Browser
Check
Make sure that your system is in good shape and up to date.
Check to see whether your browser and tools are patched up to date.
6 DNS Sniffer Want to check how your domain is configured and want to take care about some misconfigurations? This site will help you.
For example:
https://www.dnssniffer.com/en/dnsreport/ntt.ie
7 Google Tricks Find here a series of tricks that can help you to get the best of a simple Google Search; most of us have never used Google like this before.
8 More Google-ing
stuff
Find here some more Google-ing stuff to try about your site:
  • site:www.yoursite.com - returns every resource within the target site that Google has a reference to.
  • site:www.yoursite.com login - returns all the pages containing the expression "login”. Try other words concerning your activity.
  • link:www.yoursite.com - returns all the pages on other websites and applications that contain a link to your site. This may include links to old content, or functionality that is intended for use only by third parties, such as partner links.
9 Someone who
cares
As described by the Author:
“Use this file to prevent your computer from connecting to selected internet hosts. This is an easy and effective way to protect you from many types of spyware, reduces bandwidth use, blocks certain pop-up traps, prevents user tracking by way of "web bugs" embedded in spam, provides partial protection to IE from certain web-based exploits and blocks most advertising you would otherwise be subjected to on the  internet.
10 Have I been pwned  Check if you have an account that has been compromised in a data breach.
11 Malware Bytes Malware Bytes offers a series of tools that will help you to protect yourself from online threats.
12 Microsoft Security Essentials/Defender Great products for Windows users. Make sure you check your Windows version before downloading the product and installing it in your system.

 

To conclude this article, we would like to add one more great resource to guide you through monitoring the digital security of your business. It’s an article from our friend Neira Jones, a useful list of suggestions to follow and become a little more fearless when it comes to cyber security. Here’s an extract:

“Thou shalt protect your online identity as for he who steals from you thy good name may very well enrich himself (and make thou the poorer).”


Continue reading The 10 commandments for your digital life

Keep on supporting your customers and give them the chance to trust your business by providing a secure environment and safe transactions.

A Happy Christmas and the wish of a fruitful 2015!

The Advantio Limited Team

To conclude this article, we would like to add one more great resource to guide you through monitoring the digital security of your business. It’s an article from our friend Neira Jones, a useful list of suggestions to follow and become a little more fearless when it comes to cyber security.

Here’s an extract:

“Thou shalt protect your online identity as for he who steals from you thy good name may very well enrich himself (and make thou the poorer).”

Continue reading The 10 commandments for your digital life, keep on supporting your customers and give them the chance to trust your business by providing a secure environment and safe transactions.

A Happy Christmas and the wish of a fruitful 2015 from the Advantio Team!

Igor Mancini

Written by Igor Mancini

Marketing Director at Advantio. The articles published in the Advantio Blog have the goal of supporting our mission: making IT Security simple for everyone.

My intention is to discuss IT Security related topics with the eyes of a non technical person, speaking a simple language and trying to show to the readers the benefit of IT Security best practices.