• March 27, 2020

Massive increase in South African network attacks

The sudden increase in the number of people working remotely has some security knock on effects.

Kaspersky statistics show that a major spike in network attacks took place in South Africa last week.

According to these statistics, affected devices increased from 20,000-30,000 to about 310,000 in the period spanning from 15 – 21 March.

“The region is seeing an increase in attempts to break into the organisations systems to establish control over them, sabotage their work, or access sensitive information,” said Maher Yamout, Senior Security Researcher for the Global Research and Analysis Team at Kaspersky.

Yamout highlighted that the peak coincided with an increase in remote working in South Africa.

“Remote working provides cybercriminals a prime opportunity to target devices, especially those that don’t necessarily have adequate IT security measures in place,” said Yamout.

“Such a spike recorded, although temporary, leads us to believe that cybercriminals have keenly been focused on the region given the current circumstances.”

Kaspersky’s statistics showed that the attack types varied, but a third of these attacks involved attempts to penetrate networks with the brute-forcing of passwords.

How to protect your network during the lockdown

“In reviewing this spike, it certainly reinforces the need to institute critical security measures for remote working strategies, to ensure effective protection,” said Yamout.

Kaspersky provided a variety of tips employees should follow when working remotely during the impending lockdown.

  • Make use of a VPN to connect securely to the corporate network.
  • Use multi-factor authentication wherever possible.
  • Ensure all corporate devices – including mobiles, laptops and tablets are protected with adequate security software.
  • Segregate your personal devices/life from corporate computers.
  • Ensure the latest available updates are installed regularly.
  • Only use corporate-approved teleconferencing software.
  • Practice basic cybersecurity rules.

“However, with the spike dropping again, such advice is likely being onboarded and taken seriously, which is great to see, and we hope it continues,” Yamout said.

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