Is South Africa at the top of the list of the most vulnerable countries when it comes to information security threats? Just recently a number of fast food restaurants in South Africa were attached by an international hacking syndicate causing the banks to lose millions of rands, bringing into question the state of the information security in South Africa as a whole not just those fast food chains that were hit. With a number of South Africans doing most of their transactions online, this information security vulnerability is a concerning matter.
Are the affected organisations including the government doing enough to curb this information security problem that has been going on for long? In 2012 the first major cybercrime of the year took place in South Africa when a state owned bank was robbed of about R42 million as reported by the TimesLive. This is one of the clear indications that majority of the institutions especially the state affiliated organisations do not take their information security needs in high regard. This is the reason why most of the cybercrime syndicates are targeting South Africa. The attacks were mostly aimed at the government websites initially, but in recent months it has escalated to the private and financial institutions and this is a very worrying development and it is a clear indication that information security has to be a number one priority for all the vulnerable organisations (financial and non-financial) in South Africa.
Below are some of the information security factors that have caused South Africa to be vulnerable to cybercrime:
This is the main factor that contributes to information security and cybercrime problems worldwide. Things like saving important information like passwords and pins on public machines are the common causes of security lapse. Employees should be educated on the basics of information security so that they can be aware of the little things that can aid the cyber criminals.
2. Confidential Information
Confidential information is stored online and databases for most of the organisations and institutions and this is likely to compromise the security of the information.
3. Email Attachments
One of the common ways cyber criminals use to bridge information security systems is through sending malware through email attachments. As it is normal for people to be curious, most open those attachments and allow the malware to be stored on the machine and do the spying and stealing.
Cyber crime causes financial pain for many organisations and financial institutions and this problem can be prevented with proper and secure information security systems. South Africa cannot be a haven for cyber criminals while we have some of the best information security experts in the country. Organisations and institutions should make information security a priority so as to avoid the humiliation and the financial loss that comes with cyber crime. Cyber crime is a national crisis in South Africa, with the country losing a billion rand a year to cyber related crimes as reported by Werksmans law firm.
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