Gauteng Business News

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IT: SA’s IT Threat a Reality As 2010 World Cup Approaches


Recent Gauteng Business News

With just over 40 days left in the lead up to the highly anticipated 2010 soccer World Cup kick-off, security experts are predicting a significant rise in cyber crime, with increased numbers of unsuspecting Internet users at risk of falling victim to IT fraud and malicious virus attacks.

Cyber crime, dubbed by a growing community of Internet fraudsters as the ‘underground economy’, tracks confidential information, such as banking details and passwords, and trades to a sophisticated network of developers, middlemen and buyers.

“Consumers are often duped into providing their banking details to fictitious charity organisations and with the 2010 World Cup around the corner these organisations may take the form of South African community sports development programmes. Other tactics include disguising malicious software as Internet links, offering significant cost savings to consumers purchasing accommodation, tours, tickets and airfare. In addition to the obvious financial rewards, cyber crime is often politically or socially motivated,” says Carey van Vlaanderen, CEO of leading antivirus software provider, ESET Southern Africa.

Video clips with enticing titles about current affairs are also often used as bait to stimulate viewers’ curiosity. “Whether accessing Internet banking or popular social networking websites such as Facebook and Twitter, it is crucial that passwords are unique and carefully selected,” says van Vlaanderen.

There has been a definite increase in malware as social networking websites increase in popularity – the Koobface virus is a prime example of this.” Unusual online activity should not be ignored – always check the source before opening unsolicited messages.

According to the latest report by the FBI Internet Crime Complaint Centre, South Africa is now seventh within the top 10 cyber crime perpetrators list, with its African counterpart Cameroon recently added to the rankings in ninth place.

Past sporting events such as the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing saw a significant rise in damage and fraud caused by malicious IT attacks – for example, documentation regarding Tibet’s slave labour and Human Rights issues was sent to unsuspecting victims and used to drop and implement embedded executable files which gave perpetrators access to confidential information.

“In addition to awareness and education, the best deterrent is to equip your computer with intelligent antivirus software with an easy-to-maintain, self-updating system that proactively detects and destroys malware during outbreaks,” says van Vlaanderen.

Being cautious when it comes to online activities is critical to help prevent cyber crime. Whether a corporate entity or a consumer, experts advise that anyone visiting the online sphere throughout the World Cup should be vigilant.


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