by TINTSWALO BALOYI
JOHANNESBURG – THE recent ransomware attack against Shoprite Holdings is an important reminder of the role employees play in cyber security.
According to the supermarket chain, which is the largest in Africa, the company suffered a ransomware attack that may have put the personal data of customers and users across Eswatini, Namibia and Zambia at risk.
The data compromise included names and identity numbers, but no financial information.
Hacking group, RansomHouse, claimed responsibility for the attack.
It bragged that it took some 600GB of data.
According to the mischievous group, the lack of cyber security practices by Shoprite employees was easy to exploit, with many keeping large amounts of personal data in unprotected plain text.
With employees being the first line of defence in security and prevention, this is an important reminder of the need to implement regular cyber security training, as well as clear procedures and policies for data storage.
In response to the attack, Shoprite Holdings implemented additional security measures, including amending authentication processes and detection strategies, and locking down affected areas of the network.
“While these measures are good, they still reflect another concerning reality,” said Pankaj Bhula, Check Point’s regional director.
The Europe, Middle East and Africa executive said many local businesses were still one step behind cyber criminals, following a detect-and-respond approach rather than a prevent-first one.
“Prevent-first is critical to protect against today’s sophisticated Gen V attacks,” Bhula said.
Ransomware attacks are rife and increasing across the African continent.
In the first quarter of 2022, Check Point Research has noted a 23 percent increase in ransomware attacks compared to 2021.
One out of 44 organisations are now impacted weekly, on average.
This is compared to one out of 53 organisations impacted globally.
Ransomware attacks are becoming the most lucrative type of cybercrime, enabling criminal gangs to rake in huge profits.
In the last few months, these attacks have disrupted large organisations in South Africa, including Capitec, Dis-Chem and Transnet.
– CAJ News