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Cyberthreats on the rise in SA

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Cyberthreats is on the rise in South Africa and during the month leading up to Black Friday, the most common threats in South Africa have been riskware and virus attacks. Photo: Unsplash
Cyberthreats is on the rise in South Africa and during the month leading up to Black Friday, the most common threats in South Africa have been riskware and virus attacks. Photo: Unsplash

A recently released study using aggregated data from Surfshark Antivirus shows that cyberthreats are on the rise in South Africa. The country has a rate of 13 threats per 100 scan cycle. During the month leading up to Black Friday, the most common threats in South Africa have been riskware and virus attacks.

A week leading up to Black Friday, there was a noticeable 17% rise of cyberthreats in the country.

This, however, is 22% lower than the global average. Europe was found to be the most affected region in the month leading up to Black Friday.

According to research, every 50th scan finds at least one threat in South Africa. The five countries that suffered the highest threat rate spikes during this time (week-over-week) were Romania (4 349%), Australia (275%), Lithuania (95%), Belgium (440%), and Germany (75%).

The most common threat types identified and flagged during Surfsharks’ Antivirus scans are riskware (47.3% of all threats), heuristics (12.4%) and adware (9.2%).

Since mid-October, the latest weekly global scans show that, on average, 10 riskware threats were found per 100 scans.

Some malware (viruses, trojans, worms, etc.) tend to multiply once they have infiltrated and infected a device and could cause damage to files, personal data, and operating software. The most likely malware type to be found in bundles is a virus. Approximately 24% of scans that detect viruses will detect more than 50 of them.

Two of the most common cyberthreat categories are malware and riskware. Riskware is a program made without malicious intent but has security vulnerabilities that give it the potential to become malware. Malware is any software, product, or program created or installed onto a computer to cause harm.

“The holiday shopping season, starting with Black Friday, is not only beneficial for the retailers but cybercriminals too,” said Nedas Kazlauskas, antivirus product owner at Surfshark. “People searching for gifts and deals online during the period of huge discounts are more likely to click on suspicious links, download malicious files, and infect their devices.”

Hackers use malware to corrupt or delete files, steal money and personal data, copy passwords, or take control of specific programs. The most common ways for malware to be installed are phishing emails, corrupt attachments, suspicious downloads, unfamiliar links, and malicious websites. Malware comes in various types, such as viruses, trojans, worms, spyware, adware, bots, and more.

Tips to protect yourself from threats online

•Avoid unfamiliar sites: steer clear of unknown or unvetted sites that offer discounts too good to be true.

•Look for the lock icon: make sure the website has a secure HTTPS connection. The lock icon in the address bar can identify them as legitimate sites.

•Update your software: ensure the programs and apps are up to date to avoid potential security breaches.

•Avoid suspicious links: scammers will send malicious links via email, mobile or social media. Please do not click on them; instead, verify deals on a retailer’s official website.

•Watch for typos: inconsistent grammar, multiple typos, and strange phrases can indicate potential scams.

•Use Antivirus: it offers real-time protection from same-day threats and advanced detection against malware and cyberattacks.

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