Cybersecurity for Black Friday and Christmas

Learn about cyber security risks over the peak shopping seasons and tips on how to protect your business and your customers.

'Tis the season of online shopping! As Black Friday and Christmas approach, businesses are getting ready to make the most of it, and it’s important you think about cyber security during these busy times.

When are Black Friday and Cyber Monday?

Black Friday traditionally falls on the Friday after Thanksgiving in the United States, with Cyber Monday falling at the end of the same weekend. Planning for the end of November is often your safest bet. These are two huge shopping days in the calendar - on Black Friday 2022, customers around the globe spent over $40 billion (around £32 billion) online. This highlights the increase in online shopping during these peak seasons, but it also shows the potential increase in risks of cyber-attacks.

What are the cyber risks of Black Friday and Cyber Monday (for businesses)?

As customers prepare to purchase, hackers take advantage and devise phishing scams and other digital crimes, like data breaches and ransomware attacks where a device will be locked until the owner pays the ransom.

Through research for our Fit for the Future report, we uncovered the biggest cyber security challenge for businesses is ensuring all company and personal data is kept safe. Cyber criminals use the boost in online traffic to tap into systems and hack into sensitive data such as payment details.

What are the implications of a cyber-attack on a small business?

If your online business was hit by a cyber-attack during these peak shopping times, it could cause major disruption to your sales, as well as damaging your reputation and breaking your customers’ trust. This could lead to financial losses and potential legal issues.

For small businesses, this kind of cyber breach can be especially devastating, as they might not have the resources to be able to recover.

How you can help protect your business and customers while Black Friday shopping

Fortunately, there are steps you can take to protect your business and your customers from cyber risks:

Strengthen your defence: Invest in robust antivirus software. Keep on top of software updates to make sure you’re not left vulnerable to opportunistic hackers.

Educate your team: Your employees should be trained to recognise potential cyber threats, like suspicious emails, links, and attachments.

Backup your data: By regularly backing up your data, you’ll be able to restore your systems quicker in the unfortunate event of a cyber-attack.

Two-Factor Authentication (2FA): Integrate 2FA as an additional layer of security to make it more difficult for hackers to tap into your systems.

Use secure payment channels: The payment systems you choose to use need to be secure and PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards) compliant. This reduces the risk of transactions being intercepted by cyber criminals.

6 tips to help your customers feel safe on your website

  1. Customer support: Knowing they can reach out to a dedicated channel when they have questions around cyber security can reduce worries that customers might have.

  2. HTTPS: Use HTTPS for your website. This encrypts data that’s passed between your customers and your servers, which is reassuring to people buying from you.

  3. Privacy policies: Make sure your privacy policies are easily accessible. This level of transparency helps build confidence in potential customers and demonstrates that you take their digital safety seriously.

  4. Reviews: Show reviews and testimonials on your website. This kind of genuine feedback helps to build trust with potential buyers and demonstrates that you’re legitimate.

  5. Link to your social platforms: Linking your social media profiles can ensure customers are accessing your official social channels. Cyber criminals can create fake accounts to pose as your business and prey on your customers.

  6. Be user-friendly: Ensure your website is easy to use. A thoughtful and well-designed site showcases your professionalism and helps to keep users engaged.

Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Christmas are full of opportunities for businesses to thrive, but they also involve a higher risk of cyber-attacks. It’s important that you prioritise security to minimise these threats and protect your systems, your customers, and your reputation.

By taking action and adopting strong cyber security measures, you can make the most of the busy retail periods without compromising on safety.

You can speak with our friendly V-Hub Digital Advisers for 1-2-1 support and further information on cyber security for your business. If you’d like to read more, take a look at our small business cyber security guide.

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