Give Thanks for Your Enterprise SOC and NOC Teams

While many U.S.-based enterprise workers plan to take a day off to celebrate Thanksgiving, their SOC and NOC teams are preparing for battle.

Despite most workers logging off, U.S. enterprise attacks increase significantly on holidays.

This season’s official start might have kicked off early with a ransomware attack on Baltimore County Public School system yesterday that took down its internal networks. It’s such a big deal that the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) annually updates its site with tips and hints for reminding Americans about the increase for cybersecurity awareness.

Why? Despite reduced network activity during the holidays, NOC and SOC teams might have fewer members with a few members celebrating their well-deserved time off. This situation can create potential risk if not managed or planned for, which creates opportunities for attacks to be overlooked. Yet, as every security team knows, someone has to be available to monitor network security during the holidays, checking for IOCs, running sandboxes with potential threats and flagging potential threats with the appropriate team members.

What can you do to make their lives easier? Log out of systems that you have access to. If you are checking email during your celebration, be mindful of emails that you’re not used to and don’t reply to those you’re unsure of. Don’t open personal web-based email accounts on your work-based computer. And while you are taught to never let your guard down with cybersecurity, tis the season to raise your guard a little higher. Simple things.

Phishing attacks are a common form of holiday attack when email recipients are highly distracted or in a “holiday” mindset and are more likely to reply quickly to get back to the celebration. From cute ecards to last-minute shopping deals to mysterious past-due invoices, phishing attacks increase significantly over the holidays and any of these in your work inbox can open an attack opportunity. For instance, an Emotet botnet attack discovered in 2018 featured malicious spam emails with subject lines such as “Thanksgiving day wishes.” In 2019, that form of attack only got worse with a 233% increase in malicious phishing URLs. No one yet knows what 2020 might bring.

If you know a member of the SOC or NOC team, wish them a happy holiday and thank them for not protecting your enterprise. And if you’re the baking sort and can go into the office, leave them a few freshly baked cookies; they’ll be appreciated.

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