" South Africa "

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IQ Retail Guards Against New Age Threats with Panda Security

“Stories of cyber-attacks hit the news almost daily – data breaches, DDos attacks, email hacks and phishing attacks – reminders of the dangers of the internet” says Jeremy Matthews Regional Manager of Panda Security Africa. “Yet somehow all of these attacks still seem foreign– as though it would never happen to you, however the reality is, South African businesses are affected by these threats” continues Matthews.

IQ Retail MD, Chris Steyn knows this all too well and has seen first-hand the dramatic rise of new age threats such as Ransomware. Software company IQ Retail, provides expertise in complete financial and business administration solutions, focusing on the development of business systems for the accounting and retail management environment. Since its inception in 1986, IQ Retail has grown to become one of the premium providers of innovative business solutions.
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Block-y Locky Ransomware with Panda Security

Last week a new strain of ransomware came to the fore, dubbed Locky because of the way it renames the file extension. Locky targets users via email attachments, which is often an invoice in a Microsoft Word document. Once the recipient downloads the file, if Office macros are enabled the malicious macro gets to work encrypting the user’s files. If macros are not enabled, the Word document will display a message prompting the user to enable macros in order to read the invoice.
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Cyber Attacks are a real threat for South Africans

For as long as there have been computers there have been hackers trying to get into them, and government departments and large organisations were most often the victims.

These days, however, hacker intrusions are a growing concern for us all, from government departments and large corporations to smaller businesses and individuals. South African’s often consider themselves immune to these kinds of threats but in reality they too should be concerned. An increasing number of South Africans and South African businesses have been targeted over the past couple of years and have lost large sums of money in the process.

The most recent tool hackers are using to get into your system is Ransomware, named because hackers use malware to get into the users system, get hold of their data and block them from accessing it. Hackers then demand a ransom be paid to them for the safe return of the user’s data. Malware is downloaded onto your system in a number of ways, such as from an unsecured website download or the download of an email attachment. Hackers will use current trends to entice users into downloading malware, such as the popular new Star Wars film. Once the malware has been downloaded it will being encrypting the data so that when the user tries to gain access they will be blocked and a message from the hacker will appear on screen. Many times, particularly in the case of organisations or influential individuals hackers threaten to expose confidential information.

South African’s need to be aware of and take these threats more seriously, according to research done by Rick Couch & Associates, 70% of South Africans have fallen victim to cybercrime, as well as 47% of South African smartphone users. These statistics are concerning, particularly as cyber criminals are constantly working to find the most profitable opportunities. It is not enough to just have a standard AV solution installed on your system, users need take more aggressive action to prevent Ransomware attacks.

It is important to realise that it is not only large organisations that are being targeted, individuals have also been targeted in their personal capacity. Studies show that many individuals use Gmail for their personal affairs, often revealing personal details in mail to friends and family. What’s concerning is that people often make their Gmail passwords something easy to remember and consider it unnecessary to make the password highly secure. This is a dangerous misconception, as it makes hacking into such email accounts incredibly easy for cybercriminals, once in they will then be able to intercept conversations and entice users to reveal addresses, passwords, banking details and other personal information.

South African’s need to take these threats seriously and become more proactive in protecting themselves against cyber attacks.

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Is biometrics the answer to secure and easy online payment?

Demanding and tech-savvy users continue to exert extreme pressure on companies to solve the convenience versus security conundrum. This is where a seamless customer experience and data security intersects. Growing cyber risk has ushered in the need for watertight methods of protecting personal data. According to the South African Fraud Prevention Service, identity theft is costing the country at least R1 billion per year and has increased by more than 200% in the last six years.

While the payments industry is currently working full steam on various forms of biometric technology aimed at thwarting ever-increasing security breaches in payments technologies, biometrics have been around for quite a while and the technologies take different forms.

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South Africa: Third-highest number of cybercrime victims in the world

Intel’s recent “Global Cost of Cyber-Crime Report” shows that the economic impact of cyber-crime in South Africa is equivalent to 0.14% of the country’s GDP. This is roughly R5.8 billion a year and growing.

According to security experts, neither government nor business are combatting cyber-crime correctly. This is mainly due to a shortage of skills and a lack of urgency in taking action against cybercriminals. Prevention is better than cure and South Africans must be made aware of these crimes and how to prevent them.

Industry reports indicate that South Africa has the third-highest number of cybercrime victims, after Russia and China. The most common cyber-attacks locally are related to phishing. “South Africa is the second most targeted country globally when it comes to Phishing attacks,” says Drew van Vuuren, CEO of information security and privacy practice, 4Di Privaca.

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