According to Kaspersky’s research, the number of financial malware attacks reported in South Africa in the first half of 2021 increased by more than 10,400 over the same period last year, owing to a combination of increasingly sophisticated propagation technologies and the ongoing economic uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“24% of the attacks were directed at corporate users. “Financial malware assaults are a critical cybersecurity risk facing the local market today across both the consumer and business sectors,” says Bethwel Opil, Enterprise Sales Manager at Kaspersky in Africa.
Remote Work Causes Security Vulnerabilities
Local firms have become vulnerable to financial malware as more staff work outside the relative safety of the corporate network.
The normalization of a remote workforce emphasizes the importance of securing the personal endpoint devices of employees who need to access back-end systems to continue performing their jobs.
In addition to protecting these devices, cybersecurity training for staff is an important part of defending against the growing scourge of financial malware that uses phishing techniques to target individual users.
“The growth in South African financial malware attacks reinforces the critical need for cybersecurity awareness training programs and substantiates our business focus on this,” says Opil.
Decline in Attacks on financial institutions in Kenya and Nigeria
“It’s also worth noticing and mentioning that Kenya and Nigeria, two other African countries that we keep an eye on, show a stark contrast, with 68 percent and 35 percent drops in financial malware attacks, respectively. Ethiopia on the other hand has seen a staggering 142% increase in H1 2021. This, in my opinion, makes pinpointing a certain targeted country or sector at any one time impossible.
In fact, it reinforces our message that malware and other forms of cybercrime are a global, ongoing problem that must be addressed.”
How to Keep Your Computers Safe
Some of the best practices for protecting employees against malware include requiring them to only install apps from reputable sources, such as official app stores. Even yet, according to Kaspersky, staff should always check the permissions that the program seeks. If these permissions do not match the program’s intended role, they should be investigated and brought to an IT administrator’s attention.
To assist protect against a variety of financial cyber risks, both businesses and consumers should install trusted security solutions such as Kaspersky Security Cloud on all devices connected to the Internet. Throughout this, it’s critical to keep all software up to date with the newest security patches and upgrades.
To increase the network environment’s defensive posture, enterprises should look into anti-advanced persistent threat (APT) and endpoint detection and response (EDR) technologies in addition to fundamental cybersecurity solutions and training.
“Given that the situation is unlikely to change in the near future,” Opil continues, “it is best to combine sophisticated cybersecurity solutions with continually expanding training to keep staff abreast of current hazards, particularly when it comes to financial malware.”
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