from DION HENRICK in Cape Town
CAPE TOWN – SOUTH African ransomware attacks are becoming increasingly targeted and sophisticated as public or community entities such as libraries and religious centres are now also falling victims.
These and non-profitable organisations (NPOs) were previously spared the attacks.
Maher Yamout, Senior Security Researcher for the Global Research and Analysis Team at Kaspersky, said this trend was also leading to a complete and full de-romanticising of hacking, as the image many people once held of hackers as ‘political warriors’ was rapidly changing.
This is the trend as more people come to understand and accept that unethical hacking is a preserve of criminals.
Further to this, Kaspersky research has highlighted that ransomware continued to look for new angles and leverages to force victims to pay.
Speaking in Cape Town, Yamout said the prevailing pattern in 2020 was that instead of making files unrecoverable, threat actors threatened to publish data that they had stolen from the victim company.
“We already see threat actors creating websites dedicated specifically for publishing gigabytes of stolen corporate data,” Yamput said.
In 2019, Kaspersky detected more than 120 000 ransomware attacks in South Africa.
The figure, to date, for 2020 is 4 000.
Kaspersky dubbed 2019 “the year of ransomware attacks on municipalities.”
This followed research which showed that hundreds of municipal institutions across the globe were targeted by ransomware during the last year.
South Africa was not immune.
Eugene Kaspersky, Chief Executive Officer of Kaspersky, urged companies to prioritise cyber-protection to shield themselves from attacks.
Smaller organisations, with no security departments, also need a good basic level of security to ensure that they are protected.
“This means arming oneself with quality security solutions and keeping them up to date. Only this will make the cost of a cyber attack far outweigh any benefit to the attacker,” Kaspersky said.
– CAJ News