Issued by Mediaservices on behalf of Moyo Business Advisory
Attention: News editors
02 May 2017
With cyber criminals skimming off between R2-billion and R3-billion yearly, hacking in all its forms has become one of the biggest criminal growth enterprises world-wide.
According to the 13th United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice held in Qatar in 2015 cybercrime now affects more than 431 million adult victims globally and siphons off more than US$3-trillion a year from the global economy.
Professor SH (Basie) von Solms, Director of the Centre for Cyber Security in the Academy for Computer Science and Software Engineering at the University of Johannesburg, said because cybercrime was not a reportable crime nobody actually knew the exact amount of money that was ripped off.
“Because we do not have compulsory reporting of such incidents (cybercrime), and because so many are swept under the carpet and cannot be included in statistics it may actually be more than the two to three billion rand figure that is commonly quoted.”
“We know that traditional security countermeasures like firewalls and anti-virus programs don’t really do the job anymore. To help the Cybersecurity capacity building efforts in SA, we have introduced a new part-time Certificate course in Cyber security at the University of Johannesburg (www.cybersecurity.org.za) to try and mitigate the desperate shortage of skilled technicians who will be able to attack the cyber problem head-on.”
Von Solms said that small and medium companies were internationally becoming a growing target for cyber criminals and this was also the case in South Africa. That is due to several factors, of which the cost of cyber security protection and the lack of cyber expertise are but two. In 2013 the Government had published a report on the cyber threat to such companies, but very little had been done since to help such small and medium companies to improve their cyber security.
“I believe that better cyber security defences will bring down corruption and fraud, and will improve service delivery in this country, however, the insider threat is very big, and companies must not only fight the criminals coming from outside, but also those coming from inside.”
Pieter Erasmus, an IT security strategist who works in association with Moyo Business Advisory, said the threat was far bigger than most corporate executives realised.
Responsible for maintaining IT security at a number of banks and at some of the largest-JSE listed companies, his company was dealing with ever increasingly sophisticated attacks.
“We are now dealing with top-tier organised crime syndicates and nation states like China, Russia and North Korea who will go to any length to penetrate systems.”
Erasmus said the biggest problem remained the internal security threat posed by employees who either had an axe to grind, or who wanted to help themselves to company funds.
“The biggest problem remains ignorance and these are the individuals who pose the biggest threat. Through so-called social engineering they can be tricked into disclosing passwords and other valuable information without even realising that they had compromised the company’s integrity.
“When we start working with new clients we often find that even the most basic principles if IT security are being flagrantly ignored such as opening e-mails form unknown senders or clicking hot links on web sites that install malware on computers that give hackers access to the entire network.”
He agreed with Von Solms that there was a desperate shortage of skilled operators who were able to deal with the level of sophistication now being used by black hat hackers.
“We have an in-house mentoring programme for advanced degree students where they get on-the-job training and they will eventually become members of our front-line cyber security defence force.”
Moyo Business Advisory specialises in high-level IT security strategies as well as offering a broad range of services in information technology and business consulting.
Note to subs: For more information please contact Pieter Erasmus on his cell 083 450 7374 or browse http://www.mba.za.com/