Hackers have made South Africa a target for massive DDos attacks, and there doesn’t seem to be an area of life that hasn’t been affected. In what appears to be an all-out “war,” the cyberattacks have hit banks, ISPs, governments, and even power grids. The onslaught has been so severe that all IT Departments are on alert for potential threats.
DDos is defined as: “A distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack is a malicious attempt to disrupt normal traffic of a targeted server, service or network by overwhelming the target or its surrounding infrastructure with a flood of Internet traffic. DDoS attacks achieve effectiveness by utilizing multiple compromised computer systems as sources of attack traffic. Exploited machines can include computers and other networked resources such as IoT devices. From a high level, a DDoS attack is like a traffic jam clogging up with highway, preventing regular traffic from arriving at its desired destination.”
In layman’s terms, the cybercriminals simply hit a targeted server with so much traffic by bots (aka “zombies”) that it is not only overloaded, but keeps all other communication traffic from occurring. In October, 2019, the City of Johannesburg became a victim of a DDos cyberattack which ended with their information systems being compromised. When a breach occurs in any system it opens the doors for the cybercriminals to infiltrate and wreak havoc. In some cases, the organizations and companies themselves shut certain services off as precautionary measures. In the worst case scenarios, the attack succeeds in locking out those that are in control and then demanding payment.
No One is Immune
The problem with DDos attacks of this magnitude is that they usually start with the ISPs, which are the communication lifeblood of everything from banks to doing business. When the internet is taken down, almost everything else goes along with it. All kinds of transactions are affected including banking and payroll.
In an article from mybroadband.co.za:
“Parmi Natesan, CEO of the Institute of Directors in South Africa (IoDSA), said these attacks should serve as a wake-up call to companies.
‘The ransomware attack suffered by the City of Johannesburg sounds a clarion call for boards to revisit their technology governance strategies,’ Natesan said.
She said these cyber-attacks represent a huge risk for all organisations in both the public and private sectors.
Marlon Moodley, IT governance facilitator for the IoDSA, said directors are not taking adequate steps to acquire broader skills to understand crucial developments in the technology space.
‘Because of technology’s pervasiveness, directors should make sure they acquire a broader understanding of technology and the trends driving it,’ he said.
He added that companies and the government should take advice from experts and ensure that adequate business continuity arrangements are in place in case of an attack.
‘If the corporate IT systems are not usable, there should be an alternate data centre with a clean, reliable replication of the IT environment,’ he said.”
This should be a wakeup call to all of South Africa to take these attacks seriously by enforcing the laws that have been established and creating task forces to go after the perpetrators. Companies need to establish protection protocols and increase those that are monitoring their systems.
“Da Vinci Forensics is front and center for information, guidance, testing, education, and protocol recommendations for companies and organizations to help to ensure that they are protected from cyberattacks. The criminals in these arenas are becoming more and more sophisticated and it requires even more diligence on the part of those that are targeted. We work with staff for risk analysis and offer recommendations to protect proprietary data.”