A report by the Ombudsman for Banking Services revealed that 50 percent of all complaints are fraud-related, reinforcing the importance of cyber awareness. Photo: File

DURBAN - The report released by the Ombudsman for Banking Services revealing that 50 percent of all complaints are fraud-related, reinforces the importance of improved cyber awareness. 

Banks run extensive education and awareness campaigns and implement numerous security measures to protect their clients. 

But consumers are still being tricked by sophisticated cybercriminals who continue to find new and advanced techniques to gather sensitive personal information which they use to bypass banks’ security measures.

The latest research from Mimecast and Vanson Bourne found that 45 percent of South African firms reported an increase in targeted spear-fishing attacks using malicious links or attachments over the past year. Impersonation fraud, in which cybercriminals register Internet domains that appear to be those of legitimate businesses - including banks - was found to have increased by 37 percent. 

Consumers need to remain vigilant by arming themselves with knowledge over how these criminals operate and what risky behaviour to avoid. 

South Africa ranks 3rd globally for the number of cybercrime victims, with consumers and businesses losing an estimated R2.2 billion a year, according to the South African Banking Risk Information Centre. 

Targeted attacks can affect individuals and businesses alike and reports like this should be a warning to organisations that there’s still a huge lack of awareness around cyber risks. They need to make security awareness a part of their culture by implementing effective and consistent training.