Official TEKConn Blog

SMBs, employees beware of holiday scams

Hackers are modifying old scams for the new mobile computing era and targeting smartphone and tablet users, especially around the holidays.

Hackers are modifying old scams for the new mobile computing era and targeting smartphone and tablet users, especially around the holidays.

The holiday season brings with it cheer and good tidings, carols and festive lights, presents and time with loved ones.  But one thing that everyone should use the light from Rudolph's shiny red nose to spot this year is a seasonal scam.

Last week, McAfee released its annual "12 Scams of Christmas" list, warning of cyber deceptions, new and old. Making this year's list are ruses on social media, trojans contained in email phishing attempts and malicious mobile apps.

According to McAfee, cybercriminals are revamping old methods of attack for the modern mobile computing era. With more people than every conducting holiday shopping on smartphones and tablet computers, this area is ripe for the picking – and pilfering.

However, the risk does not end with individuals ordering gifts for their families. With the growing bring-your-own-device (BYOD) trend, smartphones and tablets susceptible to these scams are being used to access corporate networks and sensitive company information. If one employee uses a device infected by a malicious application or virus to log into a small business network, the entire organization is now vulnerable.

It's no surprise that net ne'er-do-wells are exploiting this fact by modifying their old methods for the mobile era.

"That seems to be the ongoing theme," McAfee online security expert Robert Siciliano told ITworld. "There's just so much opportunity out there for criminals, with all the various devices that consumers are using."

Employees need to be aware of the various types of scams they may encounter this holiday season and how to avoid compromising their own devices and their employers' IT assets. SMB IT support has to adapt as hackers mix up their approaches, whether due to seasonal changes or technological innovations.