A combination of increasingly sophisticated propagation technologies and the continuing economic uncertainties resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic have led to the number of financial malware attacks reported in the South Africa during the first half of 2021 to increase by more than 10.400 in the comparative period last year, according to Research. Kaspersky.
“Of those attacks, 24% targeted corporate users. This makes financial malware attacks a significant cybersecurity risk facing the local market today in the consumer and business sectors,” said Bethwel Opil, Kaspersky's corporate sales manager for Africa.
Remote Work Leads to Security Lapses
Local organizations have become susceptible to financial malware as more employees work outside the relative security of the corporate network.
Normalizing a distributed workforce makes it much more critical to ensure the protection of people's endpoint devices, who need access to back-end systems to continue to perform their work functions.
In addition to protecting these devices, employee cybersecurity training continues to be a key component in defending against the growing scourge of financial malware that uses phishing techniques to target individual users.
“This observed increase in financial malware attacks in South Africa reiterates the urgent need for cybersecurity awareness training programs and confirms our focus around this in the corporate arena,” says Opil.
Kenya and Nigeria show reductions in financial malware attacks
“What is also interesting to note and mention is that Kenya and Nigeria, two other African countries that we monitor closely, show a different picture, having seen a reduction in financial malware attacks by 68% and 35% respectively. Ethiopia, on the other hand, saw an impressive 142% increase in the first half of 2021. In my opinion, this makes it difficult to pinpoint a particular country or sector at any given time. In fact, it reiterates our message that malware and other cybercrime is a persistent global problem that needs to be protected,” says Opil.
How to keep your systems secure
To protect employees from malware, some of the best practices that should be employed include having employees only install apps from trusted sources, such as official app stores. Still, Kaspersky says, employees should always review the permissions the application asks for. If these permissions do not match the intended function of the program, this should be questioned and brought to the attention of an IT administrator.
Businesses and consumers must also install reliable security solutions such as Kaspersky Security Cloud on all of their Internet-connected devices to help protect against a range of financial cyber threats. And, in the meantime, it remains important to ensure that all software in use has the latest security patches and updates installed.
In addition to critical cybersecurity solutions and training, companies should consider using technologies such as advanced persistent anti-threat (APT) and endpoint detection and response (EDR) to further strengthen the defensive posture of the network environment .