Inadequate Investment in Cybersecurity is Behind Increase in Cyber Attacks

Following on this week’s Life Healthcare cyberattack, the issue of cybersecurity has once again been brought to the fore as businesses and individuals are forced to evaluate whether measures in place are strong enough to withstand major breaches in their security.

Life Healthcare is the third major South African company that has been targeted by hackers this year. In February, Nedbank warned that the information of about 1.7 million clients was potentially affected by a data breach, and the following month chemicals and fertiliser maker Omnia Holdings said it’s IT infrastructure was subject to a cyberattack.

Amongst the other big businesses that have been targeted in South Africa are Johannesburg City Council, Capitec Bank and Telkom.

The trend is also true for the rest of the continent. In Kenya, the National Youth Service (NYS) and Integrated Financial Management System (IFMIS) were among a host of government websites that were attacked by an Indonesia hacker group, Kurd Electronic Team.

According to Michael Tumusiime, Lead Security Engineer at Checkpoint East Africa, businesses must look at threats from an architectural perspective. Considering the many attack surfaces, attackers can now get into environments a lot easier and quicker.

“We have mobile threats additionally with people working from home, the perimeter has moved therefore you can no longer protect your assets just by using perimeter security. You need to think about the different ways that people access information and the different assets to protect against.”

“Think mobile threats, think about security in the cloud, think about IoT devices and have a comprehensive security approach protecting those. It also helps if you have an incidence response plan to help in the mitigation and recovery in case you get compromised.”

Check Point has an incidence response team that is able to assist customers by carrying out a comprehensive review of the architecture as well as a forensic audit to figure out how the incident happened and how to make sure that it doesn’t happen in the future.

The consistent threat to companies of this size is due to the nature of cutting corners. These institutions are cutting corners around cost and setup of technology and this directly relates to the challenges that they are experiencing, using technology that is not 99.9% bulletproof.

What happened to Life Health is not unique, it is something that is happening globally. When COVID-19 kicked off we saw many customers in Europe being targeted with fictitious COVID related emails and domains.

Africa has followed closely behind as we are now starting to see these attacks reach our continent. We can also expect this trend to continue if companies use generation 3 and 4 security to ward off generation 5 and 6 attacks.

Edited by Jenna Delport
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