The good and the bad

SA grow­ing in promi­nence for on­line fraud

Finweek English Edition - - Tech Trends - SIMON DINGLE si­mond@fin­

FIRST, THE GOOD NEWS: in­ter­na­tional se­cu­rity spe­cial­ist Sy­man­tec says In­ter­net fraud re­lated to fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tions in South Africa has dropped. The bad news is that SA is grow­ing in promi­nence in­ter­na­tion­ally as more on­line crime takes place here. Last year SA was at num­ber 50 on the list of coun­tries where most attacks took place but has jumped seven places up to num­ber 43 to date this year. Those were two of the find­ings in the Sy­man­tec In­ter­net

Se­cu­rity Threat Re­port for 2010. Gor­don Love, re­gional di­rec­tor for Africa at Sy­man­tec, says of all the goods and ser­vices ad­ver­tised in the un­der­ground econ­omy, credit card in­for­ma­tion has dropped from 32% to 19% of what’s on of­fer. That’s part of an over­all trend in which fi­nan­cial fraud is de­creas­ing on­line while other tar­gets, such as the re­tail sec­tor, are get­ting worse.

Love says im­prove­ments in SA’s fi­nan­cial mar­ket could be at­trib­uted to ma­tu­rity and the ap­proaches of banks. “A lot of or­gan­i­sa­tions – such as banks – are mov­ing away from point so­lu­tions for IT se­cu­rity and are in­creas­ingly mak­ing use of fully in­te­grated so­lu­tions that of­fer bet­ter pro­tec­tion.

“There’s also bet­ter gen­eral pro­tec­tion of in­for­ma­tion and more at­ten­tion paid to data loss pre­ven­tion. That means con­trol­ling what in­for­ma­tion can and can’t be copied and who has ac­cess to what, when and where.” Love added that the devel­op­ment and en­force­ment of IT poli­cies at banks – and the au­to­ma­tion thereof – was also mak­ing in­roads, along with good man­age­ment of IT sys­tems and cor­po­rate aware­ness pro­grammes aimed at ed­u­cat­ing staff and clients. “A more ed­u­cated mar­ket is ab­so­lutely hav­ing a pos­i­tive ef­fect.”

He added 60% of attacks came from within com­pa­nies, whether from dis­grun­tled em­ploy­ees or those who sim­ply were the vic­tims of so­cial en­gi­neer­ing. Love puts the growth of over­all cy­ber crime in SA down to a com­bi­na­tion of two things. “The Soc­cer World Cup head­ing for SA and also the in­crease in us­age of broad­band in the coun­try. We also see that in other mar­kets: when broad­band is in­creas­ingly avail­able and utilised cy­bercrime fol­lows.”

Love says Sy­man­tec has in­stalled new sys­tems in Egypt, Brazil, In­dia, SA and other de­vel­op­ing mar­kets where in­creased ac­tiv­ity is be­ing de­tected and it will monitor those mar­kets more closely in the fu­ture.

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