Cybercrimes: What are the latest trends in South Africa?

Before the pandemic, cyber security was a serious concern for most companies, however, in the past year it has pushed its way higher up on the daily business agenda and now includes most individuals as well! Here’s why...

The pandemic’s influence increased digitalization of several companies’ processes, while other businesses had neglected to upgrade ageing networks due to budget restraints. Added to this, the work-from-home culture in many industries has led to more uncontrolled server access.

All of the above are opportunities for cyber criminals, especially those who have used the past year to hone their skills. It is therefore no surprise that cyberattacks have increased dramatically since lockdown. Cyber criminals are using more sophisticated tactics and programming, even to the point of bringing back some of their old-school tricks as ‘hooks’. Plus, they are now targeting people at home and at work. Anyone and everyone are at risk!

 

In South Africa some of the following types of cyberattacks are more prevalent:

Stalkerware

Stalkerware, also known as spyware, is software that has been illegally loaded to a device, and is used to read messages, see what someone is typing, track locations, eavesdrop on telephone conversations, etc. Pretty much everything you may have seen in the movies. Scary right?!

Don’t click on links in emails or install programmes (even Apps) that you don’t know or trust. Double check every single App before giving it access to your phone.


Routers

Home routers are considered ‘soft targets’, as the average person may not even realise how routers can compromise their cyber security. Did you set up your router’s password or did you just take what your ISP suggested for you? Set up this password yourself and make sure it isn’t something that can be easily guessed.


Ransomware

Ransomware is a type of software that gains access to a device, computer, server or network in order to encrypt critical data so that it is unusable by the victim. The cyber criminal then asks for a sum of money as a ransom in order to undo what they have done.

This type of attack operates on a fear basis and is ‘easy money’ for the cyber criminal, it has therefore increased over the past several months. Statistics from Kapersky shows that while over 50% of ransomware victims had paid the ransom, very few had actually gained their data back.

Be very sceptical about every unknown email, check and double check addresses and don’t click on any link within Spam emails. Educate your staff and everyone in your household.


Phishing

Phishing is a SPAM email that tricks individuals into clicking on a link that will download malware (malicious software) onto their computer, phone, mobile device or company network.

The various groups of cyber criminals are not pushing out untargeted mass SPAM emails anymore. They are taking their time to compile targeted, highly authentic-appearing emails that look legitimate. In SA we had over 600 000 phishing attacks in the second quarter of 2020 alone.


Sim Swap

Have you noticed that some banks have discontinued the One Time Pin verification process? That is because the old-school tactic of sim swapping has increased substantially over the past two years. The rise in ecommerce shopping could have something to do with this.


Insurance

On the positive side, some insurance companies are now offering policies that cover damages caused by security breaches, however we would advise that you always read the fine print and understand the clauses thoroughly.

Beware! Assume that your business and home devices are always at risk. This way you can bring in the right software and measures to prevent vulnerabilities or lessen the gravity of incidents.

 

Domains.co.za is a domain registration and website hosting company based in South Africa. Apart from domain names and hosting we also provide our clients with a solution to get their businesses online – Sitebuilder, a solution to safeguard websites online – SSL Certificates and a solution to protect devices from cyberattacks – AntiVirus software.