Have yourself a cybersafe festive season

Have yourself a cybersafe festive season

The holiday season is fast approaching. While we're beginning to wind down, cyber criminals are gearing up to take advantage of the huge increase in online shopping, social media activity, seasonal travel - not forgetting our more relaxed mindset!

Here are our top tips on staying safe online.

Phishing and Social Engineering

  • Beware of phishing emails or SMS messages purporting to be from parcel shipping services like DPL and DPD. These usually contain links to fake websites that either aim to harvest your credentials or personal information, or to make a payment for supposed additional charges relating to your delivery. If you’re unsure, don’t click on the links! If you are expecting a parcel, login to the provider’s website directly and check your delivery status there.
  • Even if you do everything right, a compromise may be outside your control. But by using a strong and unique password for every account, you can prevent hackers doing further damage.

For further guidance, see our previous news bulletins on Phishing, Social Engineering, Malware, Passwords, and how to Limit the impact of a Data Breach.

Holiday travel and catching up with loved ones online

The number of people travelling to be with family and friends over the festive season will be greatly reduced this year due to COVID-19. 

If you are travelling, follow our tips on physical and device security:

  • Ensure your devices are locked and encrypted and only connect to trusted networks.
  • Make sure you protect your personal data when travelling.
  • If your office or home will be empty over the holiday period, make sure doors and windows are locked and use alarms and CCTV where possible.
  • Before leaving work or your home office for the holidays, take the time to secure paperwork containing sensitive data.

And if you are staying at home and are planning to use Zoom to keep in touch with loved ones, make sure you know how to secure your online party and avoid any unwanted gatecrashers by following our Zoom Guidance.


Many of us will receive a new device as a Christmas gift.

  • Take time to double check all available security settings to make sure it is as protected as it can be.
  • Ensure parental controls are in place on devices belonging to children or younger relatives.
  • And don’t forget to take care when disposing of old devices. If reselling, seek expert help for wiping data first.

For further guidance, see our previous news bulletins on Personal Devices and Remote Working and Physical Security.

Protect yourself and others online

Make sure you’re using those new devices responsibly.

  • Be mindful of oversharing in online games and social media, you may give away enough info for an attacker to steal your identity.
  • Never share your travel plans publicly online.
  • Be aware of your digital footprint. What you say and do online will likely be recorded by service providers and/or other members of the online community.
  • Finally, be watchful of vulnerable users who may be potential victims of cyberbullying and harassment. Make the most of account privacy settings and report any issues you see.

For further guidance, see our previous news bulletins on Social Media, Digital Footprint, and Cyberbullying and Harassment.


Author: IT Security Team, Digital and Information Services