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Cyber cons exploit COVID-19 to plunder

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Cyber security

JOHANNESBURG – ATTACKS on remote desktop protocols (RDP) in South Africa grew by 220 percent, reaching 22,8 million violations in 2020.

The surge is attributed to a worldwide shift to relying on digital platforms and tools to work and carry out other aspects of lives over the past year.

The coronavirus (COVID-19) has made the shift involuntary, according to Kaspersky, the global cyber security company.

Findings are carried in its “Story of the Year: Remote Work” report.

Kaspersky researchers discovered a 242 percent growth of brute force attacks on remote desktop protocols (RDP) globally compared to last year and 1,7 million unique malicious files disguised as apps for corporate communication appeared.

Since March at the outset of COVID-19, the number of Bruteforce.Generic.RDP detections skyrocketed by 3,2 times (to November) compared to the number of the same type of attacks in 2019.

Overall, 22,8 million attacks in 2020, compared to 7,1 million same period last year.

Aside from attacks on RDP, cybercriminals abused the demand to work virtually.

Kaspersky detected 1,66 million unique malicious files spread under the guise of popular messenger and online conference applications.

“This year taught us a lot,” said Dmitry Galov, security researcher at Kaspersky.

The expert said the move online was not as flawless as anticipated.

“As the focus switched to remote work, so did the cybercriminals, who directed their efforts to capitalise on a rise in adoption.”

He said there was still a lot to learn about the responsible use of technology, with data sharing at the heart of it.

– CAJ News

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