Cyber Hackers Target SA as number of attacks rise

In January, 2015, the international online auction site, eBay, encouraged users to change their passwords as their system had been hacked and while the area that houses the 145 million user password information was encrypted, the warning was set as a precaution only.

As we see mega-giants in the online information world take ‘hits’ from the cybercrime world, it is a red flag alert to both businesses and private citizens alike in SA to be diligent about the preservation of personal and proprietary data. The attack on eBay may have only compromised names, postal addresses, email addresses and dates of birth, and while this is not the critical financial data, it should be considered sensitive demographics.

From the business perspective, the cyberattack did not only wreak havoc for eBay, but as an international company, it has opened the door for authorities and regulators all over the globe for potential accusations and suits regarding liability, exposure and jurisdictions on an unprecedented level.

Regulating the massive quantities of information in SA in media, telecommunications and technology is the slippery slope and this is one of the main reasons there is legislation for data protection currently under review in SA. Data mining that accesses any form of data can be used for a variety of circumstances and is worth its weight in gold in today’s technology world. It has already been proven that cyber hackers will go to any length to access, as this can be sold to a wide variety of verticals and is well worth their investment.

Sharon Knowles, CEO of Da Vinci Cyber Security says:

“The biggest challenge is that companies of all sizes take the lead from the global corporations. If they view their attitude of data protection as a minimal priority focus, or even a totally self-assured attitude that all is under control, they allow themselves to become targets. In some cases, the protection devices set in place are not reviewed or changed for a period of years, and this allows cyber criminals entrance into sensitive company data. Da Vinci Cyber Security  takes the lead in monitoring all areas that may pose a potential opening, reviewing, examining and updating on a regular basis to guard both client and corporation information.”

John Chambers, Cisco CEO indicated that the 2015 year will be worse than 2014 for business hack attacks around the world. At the World Economic Forum in Davos, Chambers stated, “There is no data center or network in the world that hasn’t been hacked. If you watched the number of attacks, they’re going up exponentially this year, this year’s going to be much worse than last year.” He emphasized the challenges of cybersecurity that face businesses, specifically because many discover a breach months after the initial attack and often have inefficient methods set up for defense.

To give you an idea of how fast it can happen, Chambers stated, “The average attack, you get 90 percent of the data you want in like nine hours, and yet most of the companies don’t find out for three to four months.” At The World Economic Forum, the topic of cybersecurity was flagged as one of the biggest risks for 2015 and that those involved at the highest company levels need to put increased focus on shoring up their defenses against cyberattacks.

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