Targeted cyber attacks jump, says report

2013-05-07 07:20
Targeted cyber attaks have jumped, research shows. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

Targeted cyber attaks have jumped, research shows. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Cape Town - There has been a spike in cyber attacks targeting specific information, new research shows.

Research conducted by security company Symantic has found a 42%increase in targeted cyber attacks in its annual Internet Security Threat Report (ISTR).

The report finds that small businesses in the manufacturing sector are particularly vulnerable to attacks that specifically target intellectual property.

"This year's ISTR shows that cybercriminals aren't slowing down, and that they continue to devise new ways to steal information from organisations of all sizes," said Gordon Love, Symantic's regional director for Africa.

Symantic said that attacks targeted vulnerabilities related to mobile devices and cloud platforms.

With the exception of Egypt, SA ranks number one for malicious code and phishing attacks, and is third for spam in Africa, though, when taken against the global environment, the country ranks at number 45 for overall internet security, down slightly from 43 in 2011.


The reality of cybercrime was illustrated in dramatic fashion recently when Media24 CEO Esmaré Weideman lost thousands in an apparent SIM swap scam.

Her bank was able to freeze her account, but the thieves managed to get away with about R360 000.

According to the UN Interregional Crime and Justice Unit (Unicri), organised crime syndicates have turned to cybercrime and intellectual property theft because weak enforcement made the practice highly profitable.

"Transnational organised crime networks have turned to counterfeiting and piracy to take advantage of the high profits and minimal penalties set forth by intellectual property rights law as well as the weak enforcement measures associated with these crimes," said Marco Musumeci, responsible for the anti-counterfeiting programme at Unicri.

The research found that small businesses made up nearly a third (31%) of all attacks as criminals exploited weak security measures employed by smaller organisations.

Mobile focused attacks have also grown and the survey found that mobile malware increased by 58% in the last year, with 32% of malware specifically designed to steal personal information such as e-mail addresses and phone numbers, Symantic found.

According to the security company, despite the fact that Apple's iOS had the "most documented vulnerabilities", Google's Android operating system had the more threats than any other OS.

Symantic attributed this to the open nature of the OS which already runs over 70% of smartphones globally.

- Follow Duncan on Twitter
Read more on:    cybercrime

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.