Survey finds that hackers ramp up efforts for Christmas while companies fail to configure and watch over their firewalls

Hackers are more active in the winter than the summer and take a break at the weekend.

According to new research from Tufin Technologies, 81 per cent of hackers revealed that they are far more active during the winter holidays, with 56 per cent citing Christmas as the best time to engage in corporate hacking and 25 per cent naming New Year's Eve.

Eighty nine per cent of hackers admitted that IT professionals taking a summer vacation would have little impact on their hacking activities. Tufin's ‘Hacker Habits' survey was conducted amongst 79 hackers at the recent Defcon 17 conference in Las Vegas.

Further statistics showed that weekday evenings are when you should be most on guard, as 52 per cent stated that this is when they spend most of their time hacking, with 32 per cent hacking during working hours and just 15 per cent on weekends.  

Further, 96 per cent of hackers said that it does not matter how many millions a company spends on its IT security systems, it is all a waste of time and money if the IT security administrators fail to configure and watch over their firewalls.

Eighty six per cent of respondents' felt they could successfully hack into a network via the firewall. A quarter believed they could do so within minutes, 14 per cent within a few hours, while 16 per cent would not hack into a firewall even if they could.

Michael Hamelin, chief security architect at Tufin Technologies, said: “It's received knowledge in the security world that the Christmas and New Year season are popular with hackers targeting western countries. Hackers know this is when people relax and let their hair down, and many organisations run on a skeleton staff over the holiday period.

“This survey highlights the fact cyber security investments are only as effective as the people, processes and technology tasked with managing them. Just as a small subset of criminal hackers can taint the reputation of an entire community, a few good guys willing to be accountable for their internal processes and technology can preserve a company's reputation. With winter right around the corner, we have time to shift the dynamic from 86 per cent who can hack into a network through its firewalls to 86 per cent that can't.”

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