Globalisation helps cyber crooks

Computer security. (Duncan Alfreds, Fin24)
Computer security. (Duncan Alfreds, Fin24)

Cape Town – Globalisation is giving cyber criminals an opportunity to launch attacks in vulnerable African countries as a springboard to international targets, says a security company.

According to Check Point, Namibia moved from second place to the most targeted country by cyber crooks in December.

“These stats change on monthly basis, so it is difficult to say exactly why Namibia ranked number one in December 2015,” Doros Hadjizenonos, country manager of Check Point South Africa told Fin24 about the results.

Seven countries are in the top 10 most targeted: Malawi (6), Cameroon (8), Tunisia (11), Mauritius (12), Botswana (13) and Nigeria (17). South Africa’s ranking slipped slightly from 63rd to 67th.

“In our experience we have seen that cyber criminals exploit weaker security controls in less developed African nations in order to target their more advanced counterparts and gain access to big international organisations,” Hadjizenonos said.

Increase in malware

READ: Hacked Uber accounts 'worth more' than credit card info

Check Point said that malware in December increased 17% and the number of active malware families jumped 25%.

Conficker is the most prominent malware family, accounting for a quarter of all attacks.

“It is difficult to say why attackers tend to use a certain malware rather than another, but we can only assume that due to its effectiveness the attackers keep using it. Conficker is a type of malware that is quite hard to remove, and it spreads through the network and keeps growing in many places,” said Hadjizenonos.

In SA, the Virut botnet is of particular concern because it is used in DDoS attacks, spam, fraud, data theft and pay-per-install activities, said Check Point.

According to global data from International Data Corporation, corporate IT spending will grow from $2.46 trillion in 2015 to more than $2.8 trillion in 2019.

Companies are at increased risk from a jump in malware.

“The fact that malware is entering South African organisations through infected devices and compromised websites makes it even more crucial that businesses use threat extraction and sandboxing tools to remove malware before it enters the network,” Hadjizenonos said.


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