File picture: Pexels
File picture: Pexels

How to protect yourself and your organisation from a cyberattack

By Yasmine Jacobs Time of article published Sep 9, 2020

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Cape Town - The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a complete shift to the digital space and reshaped our working culture.

Meetings in the boardroom became Zoom meetings and classes became online. However, with this accelerated pace of digital transformation, cybercriminals looked to take advantage of these rapid and widespread changes for their own purposes.

Last month, consumer credit reporting company Experian experienced a data breach that exposed personal information of as many as 24 million South Africans and 793 749 business entities to a suspected fraudster.

This is not the first company that has fallen victim to a cyber-attacks. Around the world and in the country, organisations and individuals across all sectors, including government, service providers, consumers and even healthcare have been hit by cyberattacks.

“We saw COVID-19 related phishing and malware attacks increase dramatically from a few thousand per week in February, to over 200, 000 per week late April,” said Pankaj Bhula, Regional Director: Africa Check Point Software Technologies.

“It (cybercrime) is on the significant increase at exponential levels. From fake Covid-19 relief package websites to more than 90% malware phishing threats, consumers and corporates are been targeted,” Bhula told IOL Tech.

Bhula told IOL Tech that organisations should ensure there is a “philosophy of Zero Day Protection as a culture”

Bhula also noted that it is important to identify the correct business practices to implement the equivalent technology solution thereof.

“Always maintain the Do’s and Don’ts of Technology Usage. Examples such accessing sites via https and don’t provide details of usernames and passwords to any untrusted source,” said Bhula when asked what you can do to protect yourself.

Cybercrime is another version of crime, but less aggressive physically. Just like we install burglar bars and alarm systems for homes and workplace, we are urged to excercise the same caution and thought process when it come to digital theft.

4. Please talk about the link between the pandemic and the increase in cyberattacks. Why is this happening?

What should organisations do when they have been hit by a cyberattack?

“Immediately reach out to organisations that can assist with such Incident Response Management (commonly referred to as the Private Investigators). Leverage their assistance to identify the source and remove the virus. In parallel, engage an organisation with leading Cyber Security skills to review best practice solutions to mitigate such future exposures.”

Cyberattack of a large magnitude (as seen with Experian) is known as Nationwide Security Threat.

“In addition to consumers and corporates been vulnerable, countries and governments if not adequately secure, run very large risks of been breached and held at ransom across their infrastructure and assets. This obviously impacting service delivery and citizenship privacy.”


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