SA companies fail hacker test

John Yeo, EMEA director at Trustwave (image: Trustwave)

In a world that is connecting every day at a faster pace than ever, Philip Pieterse head of the ethical hacking division in South Africa for Spiderlabs says that South Africa has a lack of skills in the computer security sector – which could have dire consequences for businesses locally.

John Yeo, EMEA director at Trustwave (image: Trustwave)
John Yeo, EMEA director at Trustwave (image: Trustwave)

“There is definitely a shortage around penetrating skill. I can think of a handful of companies that actually do it,” Pieterse told News24.

He added that cyber-criminals have become savvier towards security protocols, and that has lead them to focusing their attacks on corporate entities, instead of individuals – who have less information to lose.

It has become easier for professional hackers and cyber-criminals to launch malware programs with the specific purpose of infiltration a company’s network, and Pieterse said companies can prevent this by following best practice rules.

“It’s a combination of a whole bunch of things: There are security controls that need to be in play; security processes. There’s no product you can buy that will make you 100% secure.”

As part of security experts Trustwave, Spiderlabs uses ethical hacking techniques and experience from thousands of forensic investigations and penetration tests, to analyse a company’s IT security, find the weak spots, and recommend simple solutions to complex challenges.

But John Yeo, EMEA director at Trustwave, added that companies will never be 100% secure from any type of threat. “If you think about it from a business perspective, they probably wouldn’t want to be 100% secure. If you look at elsewhere in their operating model, they’ll have an acceptable level of risk.”

“So the big issue is: Do organisations understand what an acceptable level of technology risk is to them? And are they reaching that standard? Based on what we see in South Africa, there’s probably a big question mark over that,” he concluded.

Charlie Fripp – Consumer Tech editor