Creating a Robust Incident Response Strategy for the Holiday Season


A holistic incident response plan focusing on end-user vulnerabilities is the best defense against hackers during the holiday season.

The holiday season is fast approaching, and with it, a hoard of cybersecurity schemes targeting end-user vulnerabilities.

These scams quickly pose a threat to corporate systems because employees often use their work emails and mobile phones as their primary means of communication. Holiday hackers are prepared and ready to attack networks by taking advantage of the online activities of employees and cell phone usage because so many people are entering sensitive data across several websites and shopping online.

Cybercriminals mainly rely on people being too distracted during this time of year to notice that they have clicked on a malicious link or entered their login information on a fraudulent website.

The increase in cybersecurity risks around the holidays serves as a stark reminder of how crucial it is to have a robust Incident Response (IR) strategy in place that safeguards both the digital infrastructure of the organization and the employees.

Creating a Holiday Incident Response Plan

Business operations all through the year depend on having a comprehensive incident response plan, which is basically the cybersecurity rules and processes used to identify, contain, and eradicate assaults. It is important updating the plan to ensure it is prepared for the holidays, which bring their own set of cybersecurity threats.

Also Read: How Hackers Succeed in Successful Cybercrime Using Cloud Services

The Preparation Phase

This is the initial phase, which includes reviewing current security procedures and guidelines, conducting risk analyses to identify potential weak spots, and creating a communication strategy to lay out processes and notify employees of potential security risks. The preparation stage for the incident response plan is crucial during the holidays because it sets the groundwork for addressing new threats as they emerge.

The Identification Phase

The identification phase begins once an incident has been detected, whether it has already happened or is still ongoing. One way for this to occur is through an internal team, a managed service provider, a third-party consultant, or because the incident led to a network infiltration or data breach. It is important to activate security features that track network access because most holiday cybersecurity threats involve end-user credentials.

The Containment Phase

The objective of the containment phase is to lessen the damage caused by a security incident. Depending on the incident, this step may involve protocols like shutting down email accounts, isolating a device, or severing connections to vulnerable systems from the main network. The importance of making both long-term and short-term decisions in advance necessitates this because containment actions frequently have significant repercussions. This prevents last-minute challenges to mitigate the security issue.

The Mitigation Phase

Ensuring the threat has been entirely eliminated comes after the security problem has been contained. It is important to have investigative measures to determine how and why the incident occurred. Mitigation may include full disc reimaging, system restoration from a clean backup copy, or disc cleaning operations. In addition to deleting malicious files and altering registry keys, the mitigation stage might also involve re-installing operating systems.

The Recovery Phase

The organization can resume regular operations during the recovery stage. Similar to mitigation, recovery protocols should be established in advance so that the proper steps can be taken to ensure system safety.

Lessons learned

Security leaders will need to record what transpired and explain how their Incident Response approach worked at each stage throughout this last phase. Considerations like how long it takes to find and contain the incident are important at this point. Post-eradication, were there any indications of compromised systems or persistent malware? Was it a scam linked to a holiday hacking scheme? If so, what can they do to avoid it the next year?

Also Read: Why The Board Needs to be the First Line of Defense Against Cybersecurity Threats

Incident Response Plan for Small Security Teams

A thorough incident response strategy could seem unattainable for companies with small IT security teams. But in reality, teams with limited manpower and resources can implement a comprehensive incident response strategy that safeguards their company’s systems and network all year long with the right cybersecurity technology.

These automated security solutions become more valuable as they are able to handle the influx of security risks brought on by holiday hackers during the holidays.

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