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Nothing can ruin Christmas quite like a data breach. We don’t mean to be a Grinch, but data safety is key to avoiding financial and reputational harm during the festive season.

While you’re busy decorating and buying presents, opportunists could be looking for weaknesses in your website’s security or skimming your credit card number. Online retailers are particularly vulnerable to cybercrime at Christmas, but it’s advisable for all businesses to take extra precautions.

As your team starts winding down for the Christmas break, it’s important to be aware of the increased data safety risks. If you’re not sure how to keep your data safe, these data protection tips will help you and your employees avoid getting hacked this Christmas.

Beware of Public WiFi

Public WiFi

Public WiFi is a major source of danger when it comes to data protection. Whether out of desperation or boredom, most of us have used public WiFi at some point. When you’re travelling overseas or waiting in an airport lounge, it’s often the only way to access the internet. Found in high-traffic areas like airports, cafés, libraries and shopping centres, public WiFi networks are extremely vulnerable to malicious attacks.

These networks usually require no authentication, making it easy for would-be hackers to obtain access to unsecured devices. The built-in vulnerabilities of public WiFi provide easy access to any data transmitted between your phone or computer and the WiFi router, including log-in details for your work or business intranet.

Unless it’s an emergency and you absolutely need to access to the internet, we recommend avoiding public WiFi networks (especially if you’re using a work phone or laptop).

Avoid Public Charging Ports

Public Phone Charger

A public charging port may feel like a lifeline when your phone battery is at 2% and you’re stuck in an airport. While it’s tempting to power up your device on the go, one should be aware of the perils of public USB charging ports. Criminals have been known to load malware into USB charging stations, via which they can hack into your device. Furthermore, Christmas is peak season for this type of cybercrime, due to the increased volume of people moving through airport departure lounges.

Despite being disregarded by some as an urban myth, authorities have confirmed the data protection dangers of public USB charging ports. Keeping your phone locked can help minimise risks involved, but it’s not a foolproof defence. The safest solution? Bring your own portable charger.

Guard Your Laptop with Your Life

Stolen Laptop

If you’re planning on catching up on a bit of work over the Christmas break – be sure to keep your laptop safe and secure. If it gets stolen or lost, your work’s computer systems and all confidential data – yours, your employees and clients, could be at serious risk of being breached.

According to a report on data security and privacy by Forrester, 15% of data breaches can be traced to a lost or stolen laptop. In other words, 15% of all data breaches are preventable. To avoid becoming a statistic, never leave your laptop unattended in a public place and always keep it locked away in your accommodation’s safe if you take it with you on holiday.

Having to tell your manager that you may have compromised the company’s data safety would be a bad way to start the new year, so you can never be too careful with your laptop.

Shred-X can help you keep your data safe this Christmas. Contact us to learn more about our data security and protection services today.