Online Crime Surge Q1 – Cybercrime

South Africa Cybercrime Surges in Q1 2024

South Africa continues to buckle under the weight of rising cybercrimes, with the latest reports indicating that the country’s victim count increased by 107% between Q2 2023 and Q1 2024.

These revelations come on the back of similar worries across the African continent, which is seeing a rapid rise in cyberattacks as online attacks in other regions start to stabilise. 

Let’s take a closer look at the data and find out why Africa has found itself in the crosshairs of cybercriminals once again this year.

Hackers play catch-up in Africa this year

According to a report by cybersecurity group Check Point which documents incidence of cybercrime in regions around the world, the African continent is experiencing a huge increase in online criminal events.

The rise in incidents is alarming even though the total number of attacks in regions like Europe and North America are far higher in absolute terms. 

  • Africa saw a 20% rise in cybercrime incidents in Q1 2024. On the other hand, Latin America saw a 20% drop over the same period. 
  • Government and military targets remain hugely popular among cybercriminals, increasing the prospect of service disruption and the destabilising potential of these attacks. 

This seemingly contradictory trend makes more sense in the context of pure numbers versus percentages. 

Considering that Africa has traditionally lagged behind other countries in terms of internet penetration and online business, the continent’s recent digitisation has probably made it a prime target for cybercriminals.  

Hackers who are finding it more difficult to increase their rate of attacks in developed regions which have invested heavily in cyber security may have discovered easy pickings in Africa this year. 

Now is the time to invest in cybersecurity 

Overall, it would appear that Africa is facing a surge in cybercrimes similar to the one experienced by its more developed peers 5 to 10 years ago. 

The continent may be struggling to respond due to its traditionally lower emphasis on cybersecurity. However, companies in South Africa and across the continent can reverse this situation by investing in the latest cyber defences to bring their security levels in line with those of European and North American businesses.

Some of the key components of a comprehensive cybersecurity strategy include:

  • The basics. Reliable firewalls and updated antivirus software will set the stage for improved data security.
  • User and permission management using the latest multifactor authentication and identity verification will help ensure that unauthorised users can’t gain access to your network.
  • Secure data storage. Encrypted backup and storage cloud storage for sensitive documents and files is one of the surest ways to have a working copy of every essential document in the worst-case scenario. 

At Soteria we pride ourselves on making secure cloud storage available to households and businesses of all sizes. Protect your valuable data today with our range of encrypted cloud data storage packages.

Fintech Trends 2024 | Cybersecurity

Key Fintech Trends in 2024

2024 is off to an exciting start, and the fintech industry is expecting huge changes this year. From digital currencies to AI and biometric security verification, 2024 is expected to bring about some of the biggest changes in the sector in recent memory.

If you or your clients are part of the financial technology industry, staying ahead of the coming changes is essential.

Let’s begin the new year by taking a closer look at the developments unfolding in the industry, and how cybersecurity will play a key role over the next 12 months.

A  year of big changes for Fintech

The Financial Technology sector is one of the newest and most exciting industries out there, combining lucrative financial know-how with the latest IT expertise to develop cutting edge payment systems, financial apps, and blockchain based payment processing solutions.

As a heavily tech focused sector that processes huge amounts of financial capital on a daily basis, Fintech has to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to the latest advances in technology.

A recent report by the DeVere group lists three key areas of change that we can expect to see in Fintech this year. Let’s take a look at each of them in more detail.

1. Large scale AI adoption

Recent developments in artificial intelligence, including the universally known ChatGPT, are revolutionising the way that many sectors are doing business.

In 2024, we expect to see far reaching implementation of AI in the sector, from data processing and analysis applications including payment verification systems to the rollout of chatbots to assist with client facing tasks.

2. The rise and rise of mobile payments

As financial services clients opt to process transactions using their devices, the demand for mobile payment solutions is skyrocketing.

Cryptocurrencies have enjoyed a bumper year in 2023 with the value of Bitcoin increasing more than 150%.

The launch of reserve bank digital currencies around the world is also sending a strong message that traditional money no longer has exclusivity in the market.

Merging mobile payments with digital currencies will therefore be the next step for the Fintech industry as personal and business clients make payments on the go using both traditional and digital currencies.

3. Biometric identification and enhanced cybersecurity

The raft of changes that are set to take place in the financial tech industry next year mean that a huge amount of personal data and financial capital will be circulating digitally.

To help ensure the safety of this information and prevent a catastrophic theft of funds, enhanced biometric verification methods will be needed to facilitate Know Your Customer (KYC) procedures and transaction validations.

From a cybersecurity point of view, facial recognition and fingerprint verification will continue to play a huge role in the security of financial transactions.

Ensuring that financial data is kept safe using encrypted secure cloud storage will also be imperative for every Fintech business.

Secure your transactional data in the cloud

2024 promises to be an exciting year in both the financial and IT industries. To keep your data safe this year and focus on growing your business instead of stressing about the fallout of a cyber attack, browse our range of secure cloud storage packages for business of all sizes.

How to Choose Cloud Storage

How To Choose The Cloud Storage Solution That Suits Your Needs 

Choosing the right data storage package can make the difference between a smooth backup process and major headaches caused by data leaks and breaches.

Whether you need to choose cloud storage solutions for your family or business, there are a few key factors that you should consider when weighing up your options.

Let’s take a look at five crucial angles to consider before you make your choice.

Reliable Security

With data security incidents skyrocketing around the world, South Africans can no longer afford to be complacent – in fact we currently rank number one in Africa for cyberattacks.

A cloud storage solution that features encryption and using advanced algorithms is an essential weapon in the fight against cybercrime. Make sure that your provider’s security is up to scratch before you sign up.

Scalable as you grow

If you’re shopping around for a business data storage solution, you’ll need a package that grows with your enterprise.

  • Your monthly backup requirements may only be one gig or less currently, but in the years to come your business may generate 10 or even 100 times that amount of important data per month.
  • It’s always best to opt for a cloud storage provider that offers a range of packages with increasing data storage capacity so that you never have to read the words “your storage is full” ever again.

Great Customer Support

Every tech product experiences a bit of downtime now and then – plus there’s always a setting that needs to be changed or a feature that you’d like your provider to explain better.

Reliable and well trained customer service representatives are an essential link between you and your data backup provider and it’s essential that they offer online chat support as well as a call centre so that you’re able to get in touch with them and resolve any issues that arise.

Backup enabled

Having a digital storage option to replace your physical hard drive or other devices is one thing, but making sure that your sensitive information is regularly uploaded is equally important.

  • When you choose a cloud storage provider, make sure that the products have an automated backup feature so that you can specify how often you’d like your files to be stored in the cloud.
  • This will help ensure that you have a copy of all your important data and will help you to bounce back from a data leak or cyber attack.

Designed for business and personal users

Some cloud products are well-suited for companies with large budgets and significant data security concerns while others are more suitable for individuals and families.

It’s important to check the specific features of your provider’s backup solution before you make a final purchase decision so that you don’t end up with too many features for a home set up or a package that doesn’t offer the functionality you need for business data backup.

We’ve got your ideal cloud storage solution right here

Soteria’s range of secure cloud storage packages are suitable for both household and business use. Whether you’re backing up your personal files, photos and videos, or looking for secure, encrypted cloud storage and backup system for a medium to large size business, we can help.

To choose a secure cloud storage package that ticks all the boxes above, browse our range of packages today.

Security Breach | Hackers

Staying a step ahead of hackers

Cybersecurity is an investment that no business can afford not to make. With ransomware and hacking attempts skyrocketing internationally – especially in South Africa – securing your personal and business data is as important as keeping your physical belongings safe.

The law enforcement community has an old saying: to catch a criminal, think like a criminal. Let’s find out how this sage advice can be used to stay a step ahead of hackers by learning how they think and predicting their next move.

Reality check: it’s never been easier to become a cybercriminal

Hollywood movies have done a good job of portraying hackers as geeky loners with an antisocial agenda.

Shady characters in hoodies shut in a basement with their faces half illuminated by a computer screen may be the movie image of hackers – but in reality they are highly organised and sometimes extremely social criminals.

  • The rise of software-as-a-service means that bad actors on the dark web also have access to the latest apps. But while we subscribe to Uber and Microsoft Office, hackers sign up for ready-made criminal software to infiltrate our cyber defences.
  • The rise of AI also means that bots are being trained to write malicious code, with the potential to affect millions of web users.

Considering the availability of hacking tools out there, criminals no longer need to have an extensive IT background in order to capitalise on the weaknesses in our cyber defences.

The big question is: how exactly do they go about planning and executing cyber-attacks?

The cybercrime mentality: understanding hackers’ MO

Before a cyber-attack or infiltration attempt takes place, cybercriminals will typically carry out these steps:

  • Footprinting. This involves gathering information about your business to determine whether it’s a good target to pursue.
  • Scanning. This phase is focused on finding out more about your company’s cyber defences and create a strategy to penetrate them.
  • Enumeration. This phase is akin to knocking on the door to see if anyone is home and is usually carried out through DNS.
  • The hack itself. Gaining access to your network using a vulnerability discovered in the first few steps.
  • Privilege escalation. Once inside, hackers will increase their level of access to your files and password information to carry out the attack.
  • Covering their tracks. Hackers will typically delete all evidence of having been in your system to avoid detection and prosecution.
  • Creating a back door. In case they want to come back to steal again, hackers usually install an innocent seeming piece of software that will let them gain access to the network easily in future.

To stay a step ahead of hackers, it’s essential to counter each of these steps before they take place. Here’s how four steps can keep you one step ahead:

  1. Make your business less accessible by training your staff to spot and report social engineering attacks
  2. Strictly control permissions and file access on your network
  3. Use encrypted cloud data storage and multi factor authentication
  4. If an attack occurs, have a response plan ready and have an IT expert scan your network for back door software.

Soteria’s range of secure cloud storage solutions gives you a safe place to stash your data treasure. Click here to choose the package that best suits your needs.