Crime is an everyday factor for many South Africans, but it’s only recently that “hacktivists” like the ones who took down the SABC have caught the public’s attention.
With South Africans choosing to do more and more of their business online, we find out just what it takes to hack a South African company.
“Whereas South Africa isn’t among the top regions for cybercrime development (ie malware for profit), there is always the possibility of attacks within the country that have other motivations – in this case, hacktivism,” said David Emm, principal security researcher at Kaspersky Lab, speaking to Fin 24.
Email is still the method predominantly used by cyber criminals in South Africa, says Orlando Scott Cowley, cyber security strategist at Mimecast.
“Email is definitely still one of the primary vectors utilised by these criminals – based on research conducted by Mimecast, 75% of IT professionals in South Africa regard email as a common attack vector.”
Get a hook
In order to successfully scam someone, a typical email begins with a “hook”, says David Emm, principal security researcher at Kaspersky Lab.
“While the methods used to infect are the same, the hooks used to trick people into clicking on infected attachments and links may be different, since phishers not only use global events – Olympic Games, World Cup, natural disasters or celebrity gossip – but also use local topical events and news to lure people.”
An Inside Job
Corruption is the backbone of the majority of South Africa’s Cyber attacks, says Craig Rosewarne, managing director of Wolfpack Information Risk.
Collusion between criminals and corrupt employees means many South African companies are at risk even if they have the very best security, because they are being bypassed from the inside.
Distributed denial-of-service attacks are gaining popularity with South African hacktivists, as can be seen by recent attacks on Gupta-owned ANN7 and New Age.
“Even if they [hackers] don’t have the technical skills themselves, the crooks can often simply ‘rent’ what they need – typically using the Dark Web to get in touch with each other, wherever they might be in the world,” says Rosewarne.