The statistics for cybercrime for 2014 are not all in yet, but it is anticipated the cyber-attacks will not only increase for 2015, but will bring more sophistication and diversification. Increased connectivity means that the reverberation of today’s cybercrime is faster and extends further with each
data breach; and in seconds, the deed is done and the data is transferred around the world.
Dr. Uri Rosenthal, South African special envoy to the Global Conference on Cyberspace pointed out that smart grids, as part of the infrastructure, could come under attack in 2015. Dr. Rosenthal stated “It is probable that more severe cyber shocks are in the offing. And attackers have the advantage over the defense…..Global shocks are increasing in variety, but they are also interconnected through the internet. When we talk about what is in the offing, the Internet is more involved in daily lives.” Rosenthal went on to say “There are a lot of international hacker groups with capabilities similar to those of governments. Threats are on the increase in many ways,” says Rosenthal. “While some people think we are mastering the malware threat, research shows it is continuously on the increase, more complex, more intense and the diversity is increasing as well.”
The concerns continue to escalate as companies in South Africa and all over the world experience severe system attacks. Mcafee released information in their report Net Losses: Estimating the Global Cost of Cybercrime Economic impact of cybercrime II estimating that a close annual cost of cybercrime on the global economy is over $400 billion, which outpaces the budget of many small countries. While the world faces cybercrime as a crisis, the dollar losses in South Africa alone was estimated at R4-5bn for the 2012-2013 financial year.
Companies are at the greatest risk, because the data that they hold is considered to be ‘gold’ to the cyber hackers. There is almost a never ending market for corporate data and the cost is not just in dollars, but extrapolates to lost reputation and future business. Even with the general attitude in South Africa of not preferring to share information, there has been a tipping point requirement as corporations join in the global economy. As data sharing escalates, so does the potential risk.
Sharon Knowles, CEO of DaVinci Forensics says:
“Corporations may be stepping up to the plate to talk about cybercrime, but there is a need for additional diligence when it comes to actions. The most difficult part of the formula is making a judgment in value on the loss of intellectual property. DaVinci Forensics brings together the professional analysis combined with state of the art tactics to assist clients so that they are proactively self-protecting against cyberattacks”.
The number of averted attacks in 2014 against high profile South African organisations is a red flag to everyone. The Gautrain R800-million situation as well as the nearing R3-billion from Eskom payroll is just the tip of the iceberg in the cyber war. Maintaining an excellent security wall involves a number of nuances and verticals and expands beyond a simple one step solution. As the hackers develop more devious methods to invade, it takes even more ingenious and creative ways to keep them out.
** IT Online.co.za