Cybersecurity experts urged the public to be aware of online scams during the lockdown because it is likely that cybercriminals. Photo: EPA
Cybersecurity experts urged the public to be aware of online scams during the lockdown because it is likely that cybercriminals. Photo: EPA

Cybercrime warning during coronavirus lockdown

By Staff Reporter Time of article published Mar 29, 2020

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Cape Town - Cybersecurity experts urged the public to be aware of online scams during the lockdown because it is likely that cybercriminals will use this as an opportunity to exploit remote workers and internet users.

KnowBe4 Africa spokesperson Anna Collard said many South Africans were already working from home and during the lockdown, cybercriminals were likely to use it as an opportunity to target remote workers. 

“Our researchers have seen an influx of coronavirus-related phishing scams.” 

KnowBe4 lab researcher Eric Howes said: “The cybercriminals who weren’t running coronavirus-related phishing scams have now got in on these types of scams. With most of the global workforce now working from home, everyone needs to be extra vigilant when clicking on links and downloading attachments from emails, especially if the email is related to the coronavirus.” 

Security researcher Maher Yamout from Kaspersky, a global cybersecurity company, said the region was seeing an increase in attempts to break into organisations’ systems to get control over them or access sensitive information. 

“Remote working provides cybercriminals a prime opportunity to target devices, especially those that don’t necessarily have adequate IT security measures in place,” he said. 

IT Advisory division of Mazars SA director, Terence Govender, said: “Cybercriminals will no doubt try to take advantage of people and businesses while they are in this vulnerable state. This is especially concerning for smaller businesses with employees working from home for the first time.”

Govender said all businesses were at risk of cyberattacks, but SMEs tended to be most vulnerable because they usually had fewer measures in place to protect their systems and data. Staff working remotely also meant that IT personnel might not be monitoring systems on a real-time basis. 

Yamout said: “According to 2020 Network statistics, over the past two months we’ve never seen the numbers going above 45000 attacks a day, while last week saw this number was reaching over 300000. 

“Reviewing this, it certainly reinforces the need to institute critical security measures for remote working strategies.”

Cape Argus

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