It seems that now is the time for cyber-security experts to join forces to bring about a new awareness of cyber threats in the country.
The statistics are not altogether unbelievable when you consider that in 2016, ransomware attacks increased by a whopping 400%. That translates to an average of 4 000 ransomware attacks each day, and that’s just the attacks that are reported and that we are aware of.
While the USA is in total despair over the millions of dollars being wasted on cyber-attacks, South Africa should take heed and raise the levels of security threat awareness.
In 2016 South Africa ranked at number 58 in the list of the 117 countries suffering the most cyber attacks. In less than a year, SA has jumped up to the 31st most attacked country, losing around R50 billion to such attacks.
SA industry experts must be doing something wrong…or at least consumers, business owners and the public sector are suffering bliss through ignorance.
Where South Africa’s Cybersecurity Fails
One of the biggest cybersecurity weak spots in SA is how people and businesses view the threat of cybercrime. The severity and danger of data theft and leaks are often not fully grasped as the criminal can’t physically be seen and the threat doesn’t appear to be life-threatening.
It’s essential to educate your workforce on the potential threats and how to conduct themselves with business devices, systems, and networks to mitigate such security threats for example Ransomware.
Telkom in SA recently suffered as the company fell victim to the WannaCry Ransomware attack in May of 2017
Ransomware holds your computer or hard drive data hostage in exchange for money.
The ransomware often comes through with an enticing email to staff, who open these emails without knowing the possible threats.
Weaknesses in SA cybersecurity include:
- Unsecured internet facing servers
- Outdated or no email encryption in place
- No IT professionals on-site or advising on general cybersecurity practices in the workplace especially on ransomware
- Little to no security threat awareness or protections in place
- Storing sensitive data and information on site instead of backing up to the cloud (with data encryption) with local companies such as Soteria Online Backup
The first step that South African’s need to take is to understand the value in data encrypted backups.
How does this help? Ransomware basically holds your computer or hard drive data hostage in exchange for money. If the only copy that you have of your data is on your personal or business device, you have no option.
You either pay the money over or suffer the loss of your data. However, with backups, you can simply restore your data (from your backup) once the device has been cleared of the ransomware without having to pay a cent. It’s a fail-proof disaster recovery strategy
Installing early detection and threat prevention software is also important. If you are transacting online and don’t have security on your device, you’re at risk. Big risk.
The types of data and security breaches that we see happening on a daily basis, aren’t new risks. The problem lies in the fact that businesses and individuals aren’t prepared for attacks and don’t have the necessary security measures in place to protect their data, business and reputation.