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Digital Technology Accelerating Cybercrimes In Africa

Cybercrime has become one of the biggest threat to most organisations and businesses in Africa. The threat has continued to accelerate especially due to the power of digital technology and cybercriminals becoming more sophisticated.

According to Trevor White, Forensic Services South Africa Global Economic Crime Survey Leader, PwC, with organisations increasingly depending on technology, it’s perhaps not surprising to find that cybercrime continues to increase in volume, frequency and sophistication. As a result, more African organisations are now starting to place focus on IT protection and effectively protecting their network infrastructure. This is also partly due to the fact that they might have faced some of the threats themselves, and not just read about them in the media space.

A recent report developed by IQPC Middle East & Africa in conjunction with the Cyber Security Africa conference revealed that more private businesses, public services and governmental organisations across South Africa are also looking inwards to assess the extent of their own vulnerability to the predations of hackers and other unseen players in the world of cybercrime. These organisations are now starting to understand how serious cybercrime is becoming and the realities around cybercrime and the impact it can have to their business or daily activities– not only from a data loss point of view but also from a reputational one.

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‘’Examining and countering this rising threat is quickly becoming a top priority for much of South Africa in 2018 and beyond’’ the report says.

According to the report, in2018 alone, 29 percent of South African organizations reported being attacked in 2018. Cybercrime was also by far the leading economic crime voted by South African organisations. The report, however, notes that there has been a slightly greater awareness and response to cybercrime in the past two years.

Cybercriminals are becoming very skilled and are placing a strong focus on the business market, given the financial gain it can offer them. Ransomware that targets businesses, for example, is becoming more widespread and more sophisticated. Malware variants are also constantly evolving and their creators are always updating them to better penetrate security softwares and evade detection

The report notes that combating cybercrime is becoming a complex issue, one that is often ignored as many organizations either hope they won’t be targeted or simply an almost inevitable cost of doing business. ‘’However, the business case for maintaining better cybersecurity health across the organisation is getting stronger and more compelling in the face of more serious attacks hitting major South African companies and public institutions.’’’

As such, organisations cannot afford to sit back and hope for the best: they have to prepare for the worst. Fortunately, developing and implementing a cybersecurity strategy that offers adequate protection against current and future threat types can be achieved quickly and within the understandable budgetary constraints faced by most companies’’

The report was released ahead of the Cyber Security Conference expected to take place in Johannesburg, South Africa from 20-21 November.

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Written by PH

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