Holidays and Hackers: Staying Protected Amid Festive Cyber Risks

hacker in a jacket with a hood with a laptop sits at the table. Added identity theft icons, account hijacking, bank data theft and world map.

The holiday season, characterized by its spirit of joy, togetherness, and festivities, is a cherished time for many. Amidst the merriment, it’s crucial to remain vigilant against potential cyber threats that tend to surge during this period of heightened online activity. 

As we immerse ourselves in the season’s warmth, we must watch the telltale signs of hacking attempts that could disrupt the joyous atmosphere. To ensure a secure and uninterrupted celebration, here are a few vital holiday reminders to safeguard against cyber threats and protect your online presence during this festive period.


When a hacker emails you impersonating a reputable social media site, it is called social media phishing. Hackers insist you have an urgent “account issue” waiting for you to fix, along with a specific clickable link to begin resolution. These URLs frequently drive users to fraudulent websites, which will contain malware. 

Social media phishing tactics rely heavily on psychological manipulation, exploiting urgency and fear to prompt immediate action. The emails often mimic the exact format, logos, and language used by legitimate social media platforms, making it challenging to discern their authenticity.

Clicking on these deceptive links can lead to dire consequences, such as installing malware or divulging sensitive information. These fraudulent websites might ask for login credentials or personal details, which hackers can exploit for various malicious purposes, including identity theft or financial fraud. 

  • Hence, vigilance and verifying the legitimacy of such emails through official channels has become crucial in safeguarding oneself against these cunning cyber threats. 
  • Always err on caution and directly access your accounts through trusted bookmarks or the official app to ensure security.


While social media platforms employ robust security measures to safeguard user profiles, the responsibility for personal data protection ultimately rests on the users themselves. Even with stringent privacy settings, exercising caution regarding shared information is prudent. 

Avoiding the inclusion of sensitive details like email addresses, phone numbers, or physical addresses within your profile bio acts as an additional layer of protection against potential misuse or exploitation by malicious entities. 

  • Remaining mindful of the visibility of personal information to the public is essential in maintaining control over your online presence and minimizing the risk of unauthorized access or misuse of sensitive data. 
  • Regularly reviewing and adjusting privacy settings can further fortify the security of your profile and minimize potential vulnerabilities.


Clickjacking presents a particularly sophisticated and concerning threat of social media hacking. This technique manipulates users’ interface elements, deceiving them into clicking on hidden or invisible buttons or links that perform unintended actions. 

Through clickjacking, hackers can orchestrate a cascade of unauthorized activities within social media platforms. They might automate the sharing of deceptive posts on your profile without your knowledge or consent, potentially leading to the dissemination of malicious content or scams to your connections. 

Moreover, these tactics can extend to installing malware onto your device, exploiting users’ trust and familiarity with social media interfaces. 

  • Staying vigilant against such tactics involves being cautious while interacting with unfamiliar or suspicious content, especially if it prompts unexpected actions within your social media account. 
  • Regularly updating security software and being aware of the latest clickjacking methods can significantly reduce the risk of falling victim to these sophisticated cyber threats.

Identity theft 

You can become a victim if you are not careful about the personal information you provide on your social media profiles. Profile bios and account details of others are at risk of being compromised. 

A hacker can then use many people’s data to compile information, clone your ID or create a new one so that they can open a bank account or get a loan—in your name. Second, you will become a victim of credit card and financial fraud. 

Follow cyber-safe best practices over the holidays, like monitoring and avoidance, and you will help yourself and your family protect against all scams.

You can download our mobile app, FRAUDSTER, available on Apple and Android to learn more about consumer concerns. You can learn more at

If you’ve already downloaded the FraudsterApp, click the training icon on the home screen to learn to protect yourself.

Terry Cutler

I’m Terry Cutler, the creator of Internet Safety University, an educational system helping to defend corporations and individuals against growing cyber threats. I’m a federal government-cleared cybersecurity expert (a Certified Ethical Hacker), and the founder of Cyology Labs, a first-line security defence firm headquartered in Montréal, Canada. In 2020, I wrote a bestselling book about the secrets of internet safety from the viewpoint of an ethical hacker. I’m a frequent contributor to National & Global media coverage about cyber-crime, spying, security failures, internet scams, and social network dangers families and individuals face daily.