U.S. businesses and government organizations are being warned to take extra precautions against hackers at Thanksgiving given "recent history" showing the holiday is when disruptions are most likely to occur.
An advisory from the FBI and U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency urged organizations to identify key IT security employees who can be on call in the event of a ransomware attack.
"Although neither CISA nor the FBI currently have identified any specific threats, recent 2021 trends show malicious cyber actors launching serious and impactful ransomware attacks during holidays and weekends, including Independence Day and Mother’s Day weekends," the advisory stated.
In one incident over the Fourth of July weekend, a criminal hacker breached Kaseya, a major U.S. IT supplier, in a ransomware attack that affected up to 1,500 businesses around the world, CNN noted.
Sony Pictures Entertainment discovered the week of Thanksgiving in 2014 that hackers had stolen reams of data from the film studio and destroyed some company computers in the process. U.S. officials later blamed North Korean hackers for the cyberattack.
"While we are not currently aware of a specific threat, we know that threat actors don't take holidays," CISA Director Jen Easterly said in a statement, CNN reported. "We urge all organizations to remain vigilant and report any cyber incidents to CISA or FBI."
A study by security firm Cybereason of more than 1,200 security professionals working at organizations that have suffered a ransomware attack found that nearly a quarter of those surveyed still do not have specific contingency plans for dealing with ransomware attacks over holiday periods, CNN reported.
Ransomware isn't the only consideration when it comes to holiday scams. CISA's counterpart in the United Kingdom, the National Cyber Security Centre, issued a warning as well Monday that cybercriminals had compromised customer payment information on 4,000 small businesses websites.
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