A First Foundation Blog

Cyber Safety Tips for the Holiday Season

Ransomware attack estimates were at 304.7 million in August 2021, which is the same number of total attacks as the entire 2020 calendar year had. To put it into a fiscal perspective, the 2020 reported losses exceeded $4.1 Billion. Losses for 2021 are approximately $4.9 Billion so far, and the busiest season for ransomware isn’t even here yet! However, there appears to be lull in September, with the number of reported attacks actually decreasing. This does not mean the cyber-criminals have given up. In fact, this could be the proverbial “calm before the storm.” Cyber-criminals will target individuals and businesses during the upcoming holiday season, in an attempt to steal as much of the increased holiday transaction information as possible.

Once the information is collected, a campaign against selected customers and businesses will be launched, commencing streams of phishing emails and telephone calls. Phone calls from people claiming to be government agencies, delivery services, credit card companies, and more will begin. All with the goal of socially engineering sensitive information out of you. Emails appearing to be discounts, delivery notifications, information from law enforcement, messages from clients or even friends and family, attempting to get you to click a link or open an attachment and immediately infect your devices. That one click installs the ransomware and spreads it throughout the network encrypting everything it finds; hard drives, network drives, and cloud drives. A ransom note will appear on your screen, and if you are on a work device, your entire company could be affected.

Remember to practice your information security awareness, utilizing the following email security tips:

  • Hover over a link to see where it lands; what appears to be a link to a normal website could actually direct your device to an unsafe domain.
  • If you receive an unexpected link or attachment from someone you are familiar with, call to verify prior to clicking.
  • If you receive an unexpected call from an unknown caller, politely refuse to do any computer related requests.

Stay cyber safe out there!

Remember, if you're a First Foundation Bank debit card holder, our text alert service will notify you of suspicious card activity. If we see a debit card purchase that our system scores as suspicious, you will receive a text to verify if it’s a legitimate transaction. You can simply reply “Yes” or “No” to let us know, and we will take it from there.

Adrian S. Darmawan, Executive Vice President, Chief Technology Officer
About the Author
Adrian S. Darmawan, Executive Vice President, Chief Technology Officer