Cybersecurity in South Africa

Given that we live in a digitally-ruled world, it is easy to understand why cyber crimes have been on the increase in the last decade or two. As technology changes and advances, so does the tools and tricks cybercriminals use to attack businesses and individuals online. And as such, cybersecurity has become an extremely important part of every business and home. If you do not have a cybersecurity plan in place, now is the right time to look into it.

Cybersecurity is essentially the protection of computer systems from the theft of or damage to your organisation’s hardware, software, or electronic data, as well as from the disruption or misdirection of the services they provide. Cybercriminals target organisations, businesses and individuals through several tactics and types of attacks to essentially access data and information which may lead to monetary rewards. This poses a massive threat to businesses that deal with confidential information and data and can have detrimental consequences if breached.

Fraud, identity theft, information malware, phishing scams, spam, and ransomware are all types of cyber attacks that cybercriminals rely on to access data and information, or to get control over hardware. Information theft is the most expensive and fastest-rising consequence of cybercrime. However, data is not the only target. Core systems such as industrial controls are being hacked in a dangerous trend to disrupt and destroy. Cybercriminals like hackers are adapting their attack methods as technology advances and as cybersecurity strategies and technologies evolve. There are many reasons why cybercriminals will attack an individual or organisation, but the three most common reasons are:

      Financial: This is probably the most common reason why cyberattacks take place. Cybercriminals and hackers attack because they are looking for immediate or indirect financial gain. As with most cases of crime, money will always be a strong motivator.

      Information: Attackers who target corporate information are also looking for financial gain. The attackers will use this information to blackmail organisations and individuals.

      Ego: Cybercriminals, whilst still learning and getting the hang of all of the ways they can attack individuals and organisations, may hack or attack to gain fame in their cyber-communities. They want recognition and acknowledgement. They want to show that they can defeat the best cybersecurity systems in the world. But this reason is far less common.

Fortunately, there are many ways that companies and individuals can protect themselves against cyber attacks. Cybersecurity should always be top of mind, whether you are a corporate business, a small organisation or an individual. Here are a few ways you can protect yourself or your business against cybercrime:

Understand the trends and risks

Protecting yourself and your business means understanding the risks and trends involved in cyber attacks. You need to be prepared. Some of the most common cyber-attack methods include:

      Hacking: email and systems hacking are the two most common types of hacking, and it is when cybercriminals gain unauthorised access to your emails or systems so they can view or manipulate information and data.

      Phishing: Phishing occurs when cybercriminals collect sensitive or personal information through fraudulent websites or emails.

      Malware: Malware is a type of software created by cybercriminals that can be sent to your devices or online platforms to get access to your personal information.

      Social engineering: this is when attackers use social interactions to build trust with an individual in an effort to gather information about the person, system or organsiation.

      Keylogging: this type of technology tracks all of your keystrokes and can even take screenshots. Keylogging is a particularly concerning for of cyberattack because it can’t always be detected.

      Identity theft: This type of attack occurs when someone obtains your personal information and uses it without your permission to commit fraud.

These are some of the ways that cybercriminals can attack your business and the more you understand about these threats, the better prepared you will be against an attack.

Develop a Cybersecurity Strategy

The best offence is a good defence, so if you care about your organisation’s cybersecurity, you need to have a plan in place that prevents these types of attacks from happening in the first place.

Keep your hardware, software and security safeguards up to date

Be proactive and always ensure your anti-virus software and other security applications are up to date. Keep your network as secure as possible.

Get a Security Partner on Board

Employ a security partner who can assist you in setting up a cybersecurity plan suitable for your business. 

It is safe to say that cybercrime is on the rise. And whether you are an organization with sophisticated servers and systems, or an individual with a smartphone, you are at risk.

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