Cyber risks are becoming more complex and challenging

Despite the rate at which digital technology is evolving and disrupting traditional business models, cyber unnamedrisks seem to evolve even faster.

And despite declining business confidence in the ability to manage cyber risk, business leaders are now clearly recognising the critical nature of cyber threats and are starting to identify and embrace best practices to mitigate risks.

Cyber risk has moved beyond data breaches and privacy. There are now sophisticated attacks that are disrupting entire countries, industries, businesses and supply chains. This is costing the economy billions and affecting businesses in every sector. Unfortunately, cyber risk cannot be eliminated, but it can be mitigated and managed.

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Huge losses as fraudsters intercept emails

Fraudsters have once again swindled unsuspecting clients out of their life savings.

They managed to intercept emails from a financial services provider to its clients, advising them on tax savings by bolstering their retirement policies or tax free savings, according to cyber-security specialist and J2 Software CEO John Mc Loughlin.

The fraudsters intercepted the email and responded on behalf of the client, asking for confirmation on what had been put into retirement savings and also what was still possible. The financial advisors then responded and provided a breakdown of the current tax year investments and what the client was allowed to contribute before the end of the tax year.

He says the financial advisor emailed the requested information and documentation to the client’s email address. “The documentation contained the customer information and details of the investment to be paid via eft and also included the businesses bank details.”

Having received the signed document as well as the proof of payment from the client’s email address, the financial advisor assumed all was in order. This was then sent for processing as they waited for the investment to clear in their bank account.

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Protect against fraudsters

JOHANNESBURG – Online fraud is growing at an alarming rate, unsuspecting consumers are being targeted with invoice fraud, fake adverts and refund scams – just to mention a few.

The inaugural digital banking crime statistics by the South African Banking Risk Information Centre (SABRIC) show how the advent of digital technology has seen the exploitation of digital platforms by criminals.

According to the research, there were 13 438 incidents across banking apps, online banking and mobile banking that cost the industry more than R250-million in gross losses in 2017 and incidents for the first eight months of 2018 showed an astounding 64% increase.

Frighteningly, the report discloses that a comparison between the first eight months of 2018 to the same period the previous year shows that mobile banking incidents increased by 100%, with gross losses in excess of R23-million. Online banking incidents increased by 44% with gross losses of nearly R90-million.

The report confirms the statistics quoted are solely industry losses and do not even account for the personal losses in events where the bank does not refund the victim.

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The pain of the password

Password breaches are all too common nowadays and the biggest challenge is to keep a different complex password for every website or app, writes John Mc Loughlin, CEO of J2 Software.

Most people use the same passwords on multiple sites and, when one of those sites is compromised, hackers test the login information on other sites. This means having one password compromised can lead to one’s password being compromised on many other sites.

The truth is that for every system, cloud storage, app and network we place our information and login credentials into we increase our risk landscape. When you use a single password for every platform, a breach of one is a breach of all of them. You may practice safe cyber activity and still have your credentials compromised in a third-party app that has poor security measures.

The use of a password is not ideal, but let’s be honest, most people, systems and organisations across Africa have no other means of remaining secure. It is not ideal, but until there is a practical alternative – let’s all take the steps to not make it easy for the cybercriminal to pounce.

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New defence approaches required

The world is witnessing a proliferation of global malware and other cyber-attacks, with the number of breaches escalating. Coupled with this the growth in the value of crypto currencies is creating new areas of vulnerability and making the move from physical to digital even more pronounced.

In this rapidly evolving environment, we cannot expect traditional security strategies to remain effective.

Traditionally the key fundamentals of security have been firewalls, IDS and anti-virus. But escalating data breaches illustrate that focusing on these basics alone is no longer effective.

2019 must be the year for enhanced visibility, regardless of where a company’s perimeter is located. The days of single breakouts and in-house applications are over; therefore, the future-proof strategy must expand the definition of the ‘boundary’ beyond physical buildings and defending against external threats. Now, the perimeter must look both ways to protect against threats from the inside where a massive hole could be waiting to be exploited.

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