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Are you cyber aware? Top 4 cybercrimes in South Africa

Cybercrime is ranked globally as the second most perpetrated economic crime. South Africa is a hotspot for cybercrime with 29% of the respondents to the Global Economic Crime and Fraud Survey 2018 by PWC responding that they had experienced cybercrime in the past two years.

What types of cybercrimes are the top ones in South Africa?

  • Malware attacks
    Malware is short for malicious software. These attacks are designed to secretly operate on a user’s system without them being aware. They can be ransomware, spyware or control and command, to name a few. The malware is designed with a specific objective in mind to either siphon information from the system, disrupt the operations of systems or to demand payment from the user. They are usually infiltrated into the system through Trojans, viruses or worms. They can be distributed through electronic communication (email, compromised websites, text, and vulnerable network services) or via physical media (USB sticks, CDs, DVDs, etc).
  • Attacks against cryptocurrency exchanges
    With the rise of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, there is a rise on attacks on the exchanges. These attacks are usually Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks where the cybercriminals will cause the system to crash continuously and demand a ransom to stop the attacks.
  • Data breaches
    According to Investopedia, a data breach is an unauthorised access and retrieval of sensitive information by an individual or software system. The biggest case of this type of breach was the Facebook and Cambridge Analytica data breach. This can be very detrimental to a business’ reputation as well as the legal cases which could be brought against the directors if this breach should occur.
  • When people enter a computer or system without authorisation you may be considered that you are hacked. There is ethical hacking where people hack into systems to test the securities, but the hacking we are considering is when people break into a system with the intention of creating damage. The hacker will change the system requirements or information. They may also hold the system to ransom through their hack. Hackers use a variety of tools to break into systems. They are vulnerability scanners, password cracking, packet sniffers, spoofing attacks, root kits, Trojan horses, viruses and key loggers.

Now that we know what types of cybercrimes are being predominately committed in South Africa.

How can we become cyber-aware?

  • Get educated.
    It is important to train users of best practices when it comes to potential cybercrimes they could encounter. Teaching your employees how to prevent the distribution of malware and also how to identify malware you will be well on your way to protecting your systems against cyber-attacks.
  • Use a reputable anti-virus programme.
    It is important that you have the latest antivirus program installed on your computer and kept up to date.
  • Secure your network.
    It is important you have excellent network securities in place. You should ensure you have a firewall in place and should your employees need to log in to the network remotely, they should do it over a secure VPN.
  • Do regular website security audits.
    This will protect your business as well as your customers from potential attacks by making sure your website is not vulnerable to attacks.
  • Create regular back-ups.
    It is important to have physical back-ups of your information which has been verified that it is not infected. This will ensure that you won’t lose too much data should you be a victim of a cybercrime.

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