Thousands of cyber attacks target SA

Cybercrime. (Duncan Alfreds, Fin24)
Cybercrime. (Duncan Alfreds, Fin24)

Cape Town - Cyber criminals are launching a digital offensive in South Africa with attacks largely employing phishing tactics, says a tech company.  

Around 6 185 local PCs were infected with banking malware in 2015, according to data from internet security company Trend Micro. In the fourth quarter alone, 4 197 computers were infected with adware, and 6 564 with malware, said the company.

“In October 2015 the total malware count was 51 998, in November it was 44 645 and in December 43 724. A virus count in these three months found the numbers at 644, 566 and 637 respectively,” Trend Micro said.

Cyber criminals largely employ two methods to steal data from South Africans, said the company.

“The first is phishing attacks where they use a blanket approach, sending malicious emails or files to as many users as possible and it’s obviously successful because cyber criminals are still using this method,” Darryn O’Brien, country manager at Trend Micro, told Fin24.

READ: New malware 'takes over' Android smartphones

“The second method is spear phishing attacks where hackers target one or two people, but that’s more time consuming,” he added.

The most common malware targeting locals was Dunihi followed closely by Dridex, and the most common adware was Opencandy, said Trend Micro.

Banking malware is directed to steal information such as user names and passwords.

The primary delivery method of malware is spam and Trend Micro data showed that unsolicited mail in SA peaked in December with 2 269 039 messages, compared with 1 816 832 and 585 055 in October.

Security firm Kaspersky Lab recently warned that mobile apps downloaded from unofficial sources are known to have banking malware Acecard built in.

Trend Micro data showed that hits to malicious URLs averaged over 20 000 in SA over the last quarter of 2015.


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