Cybersecurity in South Africa

Cybersecurity in South Africa

There is no doubt that in today’s digital world cybersecurity is a threat to any business. South Africa is still largely vulnerable to cybercrime, leaving it open to threats to the country’s critical information infrastructure and socio-economic development. The consequences include financial damage as well as damage to an organisation’s reputation. In South Africa, there are numerous cases of cybersecurity breaches that led to personal information being shared without the consent of the customer. This blog looks deeper into the issue of cybersecurity and how it affects South Africa specifically.

High-profile security breaches

There are several cases of high-profile security breaches in the past couple of years. One such case is the personal records of nearly a million South African drivers allegedly from the online traffic fine website ViewFines. Another case is that of roughly seven million people being compromised after Ster-Kinekor was breached. And in a severe case, the personal data of 60 million South Africans, including ID numbers, were compromised when Jigsaw Holdings was breached.

The extent of cyberattacks

The SA Banking Risk Information Centre (Sabric) has previously estimated that South Africans lose more than R2.2bn to internet fraud and phishing attacks annually. And in 2015, the government launched a national cybersecurity hub as part of efforts to curb cyberattacks. The aim of the hub was to ensure appropriate discussion between justice and crime prevention. Hackers are becoming more funded and skilled, as well as the increased availability of hacking tools and programs online, allowing less skilled individuals access to your business. Additionally, the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and South Africa’s Protection of Personal Information (POPI) Act, is also compelling organisations to take security more seriously or face heavy fines.

Be proactive about cybersecurity

Rather than reacting to a security breach, organisations should be proactive. Steps to take include assessing your organisation’s current security status and then launching an inclusive cybersecurity plan. Having a clear understanding of the power of a data breach will guide your action, including the following:

·        Believe in real-time backup

·        Encryption is key

·        Regular training to educate employees

·        Think layered approach – anti-malware, anti-phishing, etc.

Be prepared

Due to cyberattacks being common, organisations will be better off if they assume that their security will be breached at some point. Staying ahead of the attacks will decrease your vulnerability. As the landscape of cybersecurity changes, it is best to stay one step ahead.