hacker doing a cyber attack

Are you suffering bank holiday cyber security fallout?

Did you have a good bank holiday weekend? We hope you got a bit of R’n’R! Hackers, we know, do not take time to rest or relax. Quite the opposite. There’s no holiday for hackers.

Unfortunately, dozens of Irish businesses will return to devastating fallout from the long weekend this week. Public holidays are primetime for hackers.

The ransomware attack on Munster Technical University (MTU), which occurred over a bank holiday, is a recent high-profile example.

Opportunities for cybercriminals

Bank holiday weekends create opportunities for cybercriminals. The responsible staff within a target organisation are often on leave for up to four days. During this time, their system is vulnerable to attack and the staff are less likely to respond as promptly as usual.

Our Managing Director, Daragh Naughton shares his thoughts on this cybercrime trend. He explains that cybercriminals have a plan but wait for the downtime to strike.

“Having gained access to your system through nefarious means, the bad actors sit and watch. The company doesn’t even know that there has been a breach. Hackers bide their time. They watch and make their plans.

Typically, they schedule the action over the bank holiday because the likelihood is that the IT staff are going to be on a three or four-day weekend. The hacker pulls the trigger for example, at 3 am on Friday when the IT support team are unavailable.”

Most businesses are none the wiser until Tuesday morning when the damage is already done. The damage goes beyond the loss of data and resources, potentially customer data theft, threat of exposure or demands for money. The reputational damage and loss of trust are the most devastating long-term effects.

Bank Holiday Cyberattacks

There are 10 Irish bank holidays on the calendar. 10 ideal opportunities for hackers to breach your business.

  • New Year’s Day
  • The first Monday in February
  • Patrick’s Day
  • Easter Monday
  • The first Monday of May, June and August.
  • The last Monday of October
  • Christmas Day and St Stephen’s Day.

Proactive Cyber Security

Sleepless advocates for a proactive approach to mitigate any risk of a cyberattack. Daragh advises,

“Businesses need to have systems in place to deal with the eventuality of a cyberattack. Solutions are available that have a SOC (Security Operation Centre). The SOC operates 24 hours a day 7 days a week and 365 days a year.  It responds on behalf of the customer, so your IT managers don’t have to get up at three in the morning. It is taken care of by the system.

Of course, prevention is better than cure so we would always say that having adequate security and defences in place to pick up that the bad guys are in the network is best. Your business can get ahead of the situation before the time bomb explodes at 3 am on Friday.”

Sleepless can help you rest easy over the next bank holiday weekend. Get in touch with our cybersecurity experts and get your defences in place before the next long weekend.