Cyber attacks on the rise

Cyber attacks rose by a whopping 42% in 2012 with indications that the manufacturing sector is increasingly falling prey to cyberespionage.

Small businesses and consumers remain highly vulnerable to ransomware and mobile threats, particularly on the Android platform, showed the latest Internet Security Threat Report (ISTR) issued by Symantec Corp.

South Africa is placed on the second position in a list that ranks the top 30 countries in Africa in terms of their internet security threat profile.World-&-Africa-Rankings-Chart 1

“This year’s ISTR shows that cybercriminals aren’t slowing down, and they continue to devise new ways to steal information from organizations of all sizes,” said Sheldon Hand, territory manager, Indian Ocean Islands, West and Central Africa, Symantec. “The sophistication of attacks coupled with today’s IT complexities, such as virtualization, mobility and cloud, require organizations to remain proactive and use ‘defense in depth’ security measures to stay ahead of attacks.”

The report shows that attacks on businesses with fewer than 250 employees are growing. Small businesses are now the target of 31 percent of all attacks, a threefold increase from 2011. While small businesses may feel they are immune to targeted attacks, cybercriminals are enticed by these organizations’ bank account information, customer data, intellectual property and the knowledge that they often lack adequate security practices and infrastructure, said the report.

The report added that manufacturing moved to the top of the list of industries targeted for attacks in 2012.  Often by going after manufacturing companies in the supply chain, attackers gain access to sensitive information of a larger company. In addition, in 2012 the most commonly targeted victims of these types of attacks were knowledge workers (27 percent) with access to intellectual property and those in sales (24 percent).

In 2012, mobile malware increased by 58 percent, and 32 percent of all mobile threats attempted to steal information, such as e-mail addresses and phone numbers. Android’s market share, its open platform and the multiple distribution methods available to distribute malicious apps, make it the go-to platform for attackers.



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