Viruses account for only 5% of threats today and attacks we see are now in the form of ransomware, phishing, social media scams and malware on mobile devices. I think we should therefore maybe look at re-phrasing it to something along the lines of “Why is Software Security a necessity”. Every year, Norton publishes an Annual Cybercrime report, surveying more than 18 000 consumers in 18 countries. In 2015, South Africa was one of these countries and below are some of the findings:
- In 2015, More than 8.8 million people were victims of online crime in South Africa. The concrete impact of this was that South African victims lost more than a day (27 hours) of their time and 35 billion ZAR dealing with the repercussions.
- The threat of online crime is widely felt, and very few South Africans feel completely in control of their online security
- 76% of South Africans believe that identity theft is more likely than ever before and a large majority (83%) feel the chance of being an online crime victim is significant enough to worry about.
- 2 in 3 (67%) feel it is more difficult to control their personal information as a result of smartphones and the internet.
- Compared to other markets, South Africa is more worried about the online safety of younger people. Teens and Children are considered most vulnerable (32%), on par with the global average, but Millennials are also considered to be at risk (27% vs 19% globally).
What are the biggest threats to consumers?
While email remains a significant attack vector for cybercriminals, they continue to experiment with new attack methods across mobile devices and social networks to reach more people, with less effort. For example, 70 percent of social media scams are shared manually, and attackers take advantage of people’s willingness to trust content shared by their friends.
Social media scams can provide cybercriminals with quick cash, but many rely on more lucrative and aggressive attack methods like ransomware. Ransomware is a type of malware that can lock a device or files saved on the device, rendering it unusable. Victims will be offered a key to decrypt their files, but only after paying a ransom that can range from ZAR3000-ZAR5000—and there’s no guarantee their files will be freed. Symantec also found that 17 percent of all Android apps were actually malware in disguise—that’s nearly one million total apps. Greyware apps accounted for 36 percent of all mobile apps; these apps aren’t malicious by design but are often annoying and can do inadvertently harmful things like track user behaviour.
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