Here's what cyber criminals are looking for

There is an increasing number of cyber attacks on supply chains and financial services in Africa, according to Sergey Novikov, deputy director of global research and analysis at global cyber security giant Kaspersky Lab.

At a recent information session in Cape Town he said there is an increase in cyber espionage attacks as well as direct attacks against internet users and cloud services.

Many organisations believe cyber attacks are straightforward, but in reality the situation is actually a lot more complex and attackers can do a lot before the point is reached where an "incident" occurs, according to Amin Hasbini, head of global research and analysis in the Middle East, Turkey and Africa of Kaspersky Lab.

It can even occur that cyber attackers get to a certain point in the hacking process and then sell access to another cyber criminal group which then takes it further, doing even more damage, Hasbini explained at an information session in Cape Town on Monday.

Hard to detect

According to Novikov, hackers are looking for innovations; business plans; ways to reach shareholders and partners; scientific research at universities; and government links.

"These kinds of cyber attacks can be really hard to detect. It could take years before you suspect you have been hacked and it could be almost impossible to get rid of, because even if you detect something, it could come back again and again," he explained.

Asked what methods cyber criminals use, Novikov said, sadly, phising emails are unfortunately still an efficient method for them, in other words when employees click on random links in emails. Sometimes the cyber criminals would approach employees by pretending to be managers in the company.

He said the use of infected USB devices is an old trick but still works for cyber criminals.

"One simply needs to protect every single piece of your infrastructure," said Novikov.

According to Hasbini, they expect increased security risks associated with small and medium businesses as these increasingly move towards using managed security services. That leads to the risk that if the SME's service provider is hacked, the SME could become infected as well.

These cyber attacks on the supply chain is seen by Hasbini as the weakest link at the moment.

He also expects the demand for cyber security services and solutions for the crypto currency industry to increase.

"Managing enterprise reputation risks after a cyber breach will become much more important for companies," said Hasbini.

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