WARNING: Electronic Christmas greetings may contain a high information security risk

WARNING: Electronic Christmas greetings contain a high information security risk

An ill-advised click can ruin your holiday, when an electronic Christmas card from a friend or business partner installs malware on your computer. Information security company D-Fence reminds you to be alert during the Christmas season.

Christmas is a time of celebration for cyber-criminals, as well. The amount of unwanted traffic increases significantly before Christmas, and people need to be wary of viruses and other malware.

"We handle 8 billion email messages each year, and an alarming portion of those are unwanted mail and junk mail. There is a clear spike in unwanted traffic during the Christmas season", says Juha Oravala President at D-Fence.

Christmas, like other holidays, is a time of opportunity for junk mailers and information phishers. People are in holiday spirits and behave more casually in the online environment.

For example Christmas greetings sent by email can be disguised so that they look like they have been sent by someone you know. When the unsuspecting recipient opens a picture or link contained in the message, a virus is released.

"Sometimes I need to tip my hat to these criminals' creativity. They know how to pester and fool people every which way. The worst ones are naturally those that look like they have been sent by a friend but turn out to be anything but Christmas greetings", Oravala says.

At the least malware causes wasted time, annoyance and inconvenience when infected systems need to be cleaned. At the worst an information breach can cause the spreading of a company's customer or credit card information. Identity thefts are commonplace and many have lost their savings due to skilful scams.

"Keep your devices protected with appropriate prevention systems. A good prevention system does not allow for the possibility of human error. When you cannot click, you cannot do any damage. The end user tends to be the biggest information security risk", Oravala explains.

"Treat all atypical email with a grain of salt. Don't click on everything you see.

You should also not download any attachments if you're not sure of the sender or the message's safety."