Undoubtedly, ransomware hackers love holidays and long weekends. That is to say, the way you are looking forward to the festive season is the same way ruthless cybercriminals are upbeat about launching attacks. Recently, CISA and FBI warned that ransomware actors deliberately launch attacks during holidays and weekends.

Let’s turn our attention to previous incidents that preceded different holidays. On the Friday heading into this year’s Memorial Day weekend, ransomware hit a food supply giant, JBS USA, disrupting meat processing facilities worldwide. In a separate incident on the Friday before the fourth of July, a new kind of ransomware Tsunami targeted hundreds of companies. The supply chain attack exploited Kaseya’s IT management software to encrypt many victims’ data all at once. It seems obvious that hackers love holidays, so we expect to see a high-profile meltdown as well this festive season.

Why is it like that? During high days and holidays, everyone’s off carousing with families and friends. As people avoid anything remotely office-related, the appeal to ransomware attackers is relatively straightforward. In most cases, ransomware attacks take time to propagate throughout a network, as cybercriminals escalate privileges for maximum control over target systems. In effect, the longer it takes for anyone to detect hackers’ activities, the more damage they can do. Simply put, threat actors will deploy their ransomware when there is less likelihood of people actively using the systems to start pulling plugs.

Besides that, even if malicious activities are caught comparatively soon, security teams in charge of responding to attacks are at the very least hard to get ahold of during a holiday than they would be on a normal workday. Instinctively, defenders are less attentive during holidays because of reduced staff on active duty.

How can cyber defenders and businesses prepare for holiday ransomware attacks? Indisputably, preparing for a potential cyberattack isn’t a matter of battening down various controls during holidays. Instead, organizations and security experts should maintain stringent measures weeks before attacks hit. For instance, they should review their cybersecurity posture and apply recommended best practices. Some of the security measures include reminding their employees to avoid clicking suspicious links, making an offline backup of data, using strong passwords, updating software and operating systems, and applying multi-factor authentication. Additionally, security teams should keep a few extra people on call during the holiday, just in case. Finally, CISA and the FBI encourage organizations to review and apply best practices for ransomware prevention instead of paying ransoms to criminal actors.

Better still, organizations can partner with Virtual IT Group LLC. This way, they will never have to worry about extensive downtime again with the company’s 24/7 monitoring services and the best network security protection possible. Virtual IT Group protects your information and customers’ data by evaluating your current business environment, providing a complete assessment of your overall security health, and implementing a robust security plan to provide a comprehensive security solution during regular workdays and holidays.