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Email-based cyber attacks spike

JOHANNESBURG – AFRICA must rethink cyber security amid a spike in email threats over the past year.

Trend Micro Incorporated, the cyber security firm, recently reported that 74 percent of the total threats blocked using their products in 2021 were email based.

This amounts to 33,6 million cloud email threats, a 101 percent increase from 2021, thus leaving under-protected African institutions vulnerable to costly attacks.

African institutions suffer cyber breaches estimated at €3,5 billion (R58,7 million) annually.

Despite an 11 percent drop in business email compromise (BEC) detection in 2021, the effects of COVID-19 and work-from-home policies have seen email threats remain a top vector for cyber criminals.

Other key findings disclosed by Trend Micro include 16,5 million detected and blocked phishing attacks, a 138 percent increase as the hybrid workforce continued to be targeted.

There were 6,3 million credential phishing attacks, a 15 percent increase as phishing remains a primary means of compromise and 3,3 million malicious files detected.

These include a 134 percent surge in known threats and a 221 percent increase in unknown malware.

This is of particular concern for larger economies such as Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa, whose mutual lack of investment in tailored security measures and poor reporting has attracted the attention of hackers.

“When we look at cyber security within organisations, it usually is a grudge purchase as the organisation does not see an ROI (return on investment) until it is too late,” said Zaheer Ebrahim, Trend Micro Senior Sales Engineer.

The official said organisations must ensure they have the right processes, people and technology in their fight against cyber-crime.

“Having a good ecosystem will help in decreasing the mean time to detect and respond to cyber threats,” Ebrahim added.

– CAJ News

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