Biggest IT security threats in South Africa

As businesses and consumers alike become increasingly reliant on technology and online systems for efficiency and entertainment, they become more vulnerable to attackers.

And the more services you are subscribed to, the greater your potential attack surface.

Cybercrime is therefore a growing problem around the world, and the types of attacks are constantly evolving to dupe more people or exploit new vulnerabilities in existing systems.

Just a few weeks ago, for example, a major Wi-Fi security flaw was discovered which allowed remote attacks on mainstream systems.

These types of vulnerabilities are becoming increasingly common and are being exploited along with traditional phishing and brute force hacking to steal information and money from victims.

To determine the critical IT security threats faced by South Africans, MyBroadband spoke to Kaspersky Lab Africa managing director Riaan Badenhorst about the matter.

Human nature and malware

“Unfortunately, as consumers connect to more digital devices and start to share more content and information, they open themselves up to becoming targets,” Badenhorst said.

“What’s more, cybercriminals are becoming cleverer in their tactics and are exploiting a major security flaw – human nature.”

Social engineering attacks can be an effective way of tricking users into providing sensitive information such as passwords, bank PINs, and ID numbers to attackers.

Badenhorst also advised South Africans to beware of ransomware, mobile malware, and router-targeted attacks.

“Ransomware is growing in sophistication and diversity, where we have seen in the past many cases of ransomware attacks emerge.”

“Cybercriminals are increasingly well prepared and technologically sophisticated, they are also becoming specific about their attacks in terms of geography.”

Badenhorst said Kaspersky Lab forsees a growing number of mobile malware attacks in the future as consumer reliance on smartphones continues to grow.

He added that router and modem-targeted attacks are often overlooked, and cannot afford to be ignored due to their importance in network security.

Riaan Badenhorst
Kaspersky Lab Africa MD Riaan Badenhorst

Concerning trends

When asked if there were any IT security trends Kaspersky Lab had noted in 2019, Badenhorst said companies and people would have to become more creative with how they safeguard their data.

“It is expected that ransomware will continue to be a significant threat in 2019 not only globally, but in South Africa as well,” he said.

“Furthermore, as the country’s infrastructure develops and matures local businesses will become more attractive targets to malicious users. And when factoring in the growth of IoT and network-connected devices, vulnerabilities will come in all shapes and sizes,” he said.

He added that South Africans should prepare for a fresh wave of attacks focused on politicians and their parties.

“Based on how other countries had tampering scandals, it is best to get systems in place to protect ourselves for a threat landscape focused on discrediting people and compromising their reputation,” Badenhorst said.

Now read: What to do when your username and password are leaked

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Biggest IT security threats in South Africa