There is a sense of relief in the air as South Africa re-emerges after years of lockdowns and other COVID-related restrictions. But one needs to be weary of opportunists during this time.
“Cyber criminals continue to evolve and diversify their arsenal”, says founder and CEO of IS Decisions, François Amigorena. And as these cyber criminals upskill themselves, it is worthwhile to familiarise ourselves with the potential cyber threats and trends attached in 2022.
The following are 3 of the biggest threats to watch out for:
Developed as a form of malware, ransomware criminals render files useless by heavily encrypting them, and demand a ransom be paid by the victim of the attack in order to have them decrypted and regain access.
A well-known case occurred in July of 2021 when South Africa’s own Transnet faced damaging ransomware attacks in the wake of the riots and looting that was simultaneously taking place. As a result of these cybercrimes, Transnet’s ports were shut down, totally disrupting the supply chain throughout the country. Such an example shows just how damaging these malware attacks can be. Typically, ordinary individuals won’t fall victim to ransomware, as these attacks target businesses or larger corporations.
How to avoid becoming a victim of ransomware?
An obvious red flag is phishing scams. These mostly come in the form of emails- often from banks or other familiar companies- where the recipient is asked to click on a link or open an attachment which contains malware. Deleting these emails immediately removes this threat.
Although fraud is not a new cyberattack technique, online banking, shopping and e-commerce becoming the increasingly dominant means of trade results in more opportunities for fraud. Here again, criminals are constantly expanding their methods of defrauding individuals and businesses.
“Magecart” refers to a global syndicate of approximately 12 hacker groups that plant code on e-commerce sites to gain access to personal information that users input online. Such information often includes all credit card details necessary to make online payments such as card numbers, CVV numbers, expiration dates and the name of the cardholder. Hackers use this information to defraud individuals out of often huge sums of money.
According to BusinessTech, South Africa was in the list of top ten countries globally where threat actors received the highest volume of cryptocurrency from illicit addresses in 2021.
One of the most well-known facts about cryptocurrency is that trading it is unregulated. Since this is the case, criminal activity in this space is particularly difficult to trace and intercept. Often, this type of cyber-attack occurs through phishing, where the attacker will obtain the victim’s private key to their cryptocurrency wallets, enabling them to take money out of the account. Oftentimes, the victim only discovers that money has been stolen sometime later.
What’s the ultimate solution to these ongoing attacks?
While the thought of the above-mentioned cyber-attacks can make one feel vulnerable, there are certain techniques one can adopt as protection measures.
One can use simple techniques to feel more protected; deleting suspicious emails as soon as you receive them, selecting the option on an e-commerce site that doesn’t save your credit card details, as well as using different passwords for websites are all tools that, together, help combat cybercrime.
Additionally, AI tools can be used as a defence against the multitude of cyber-attacks that exist. The use of AI in the cyber-security space is ever-evolving and is constantly bringing updated, accessible and sophisticated solutions to the table.
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The Nihka technology Group is a South African technology company based in Johannesburg, South Africa. The Group is focused on bringing the digital future to both the private and public sectors, locally and globally by delivering innovative, integrated technologies, and intelligent solutions. Nihka offers end-to-end multi-dimensional consulting with an emphasis on integrating the human potential. Bringing EQ into AI.