Financial impact of a cyber security breach remains highest for SA ‒ expert

Cyber crime warning in South Africa. File image.

Cyber crime warning in South Africa. File image.

Published Jul 1, 2023


Johannesburg - Cyber security threats are evolving faster than companies are able to put in place systems to keep hackers out.

An independent report conducted by Liquid C2, a business of Liquid Intelligent Technologies, found that the number of cyber attacks on businesses in Kenya, South Africa, and Zambia had increased by 76%.

Kenya recorded 82% of cyber threats in its businesses in the past year, followed by South Africa at 77% and Zambia at 62%.

The company found that 66% of South African businesses said illegal access to company/client information was their biggest threat.

The report identified measures used in remote/hybrid set-ups in South African organisations that mitigate cyber threats, and found that 67% companies were using advanced endpoint protection such as firewalls, HIPS and malware. 50% companies were using two factor authentication and 46% were using secure VPN and remote access.

C2 chief operations officer Wiston Ritson said investing in solid cyber security was cheaper than fixing its breaches.

“Attackers are adapting their techniques and are getting more advanced. C-Suite continues to lack skills to properly engage with IT and quantify the threats clearly,” he said.

The top method of attack used by cyber criminals targeting companies was through email, using phishing or spam attacks (61%), with attacks through compromised passwords following at 48% and data breaches and attacks (44%) being the second and third most common.

61% of the companies included in the research said the breaches to their operations occurred as a result of remote or hybrid working; 46% of South Africans in the survey said they still use the remote working model to conduct work.

Ignus de Villiers, group head for cyber security at C2, said: “Some of the key findings of the report is that hacking and getting unauthorised access to an organisation’s information system and assets is the single biggest threat to South Africa and that the financial impact of a cyber security breach remains the highest for South Africa.”

Liquid C2 chief executive officer David Behr said the biggest concern emerging from the report is that companies are saying they have put a lot more cyber security controls in place.

“With threats evolving faster than security systems, companies cannot afford to get complacent. The report highlights that businesses must be consistently vigilant about the ever-evolving cybercrime landscape and the methods malicious actors use to breach cyber security measures.

“As the report shows, complacency is a luxury no one can afford. This could prove a double-edged sword. The research highlights that more than half of all large enterprises in the three countries were victims of a successful cyber attack,” he said.

The Saturday Star