Unsupervised IT networks and systems provide a greater opportunity for cybercriminals to attack, says UAE Cybersecurity Council. Image Credit: Stock photo.

Abu Dhabi: The UAE Cybersecurity Council has called on all individuals and institutions to take caution due to the increased risk of cyberattacks during the Eid Al Fitr holiday period.

Cybercriminals don’t take a holiday, the Council pointed out. Holidays like Eid Al Fitr, which can last nine days with the weekends, tend also to bring greater cybersecurity risks as most large businesses are closed during the festive period, or are operating with minimal staff.

During the holidays, unsupervised IT networks and systems provide a greater opportunity for cybercriminals to attack. With this in mind, organisations should consider if their security strategy includes a plan for cyberattacks during the holidays.

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The Council stressed the need to constantly update protection programmes and operating systems, conduct periodic scans of devices, be careful when opening links and attachments that are suspicious or not sent from reliable sources, use strong and complex passwords, and activate the two-factor authentication feature for accounts.

It noted the importance of spreading cyber awareness and enhancing the culture of cybersecurity among individuals and institutions to reduce the risks of threats, calling for accuracy and caution in dealing with e-mails and verifying the credibility of any unusual requests to avoid phishing attempts.

How to prevent scams

Organisation leaders and individuals can better understand how these schemes work and avoid falling victim to them if they have year-round solid cybersecurity and appropriate personnel training.

• Conduct cybersecurity awareness training programmes for staff, have a contingency plan ready, diversify your systems to avoid a single point of failure and make sure your security systems are up to date.

• Teaching employees how to spot and avoid common phishing, smishing and other social engineering attacks can greatly reduce breaches caused by the human element.