Almost 9 million South Africans were victims of cybercrime in the last year, according to a study by internet security company Norton, which is expected to cost businesses up to $6trn (R78trn) by 2021.
According to Fin24, the statistic was mentioned by Paolo Passeri, Cisco’s consulting, systems engineer for cloud security, at the Cisco Connect South Africa conference which was held in Sun City. Passeri told Fin24 in an interview that the multiple factors will contribute to the rise in cyber crimes in years to come, but the Internet of Things (IoT) has increasingly put devices at risk.
He mentioned a recent case where a smart TV, powered by the Android operating system, was taken hostage by cyber criminals.
“Cybercriminals are using ransomware to encrypt data and demand money from owners of these devices,” he added.
Passeri said that the same techniques used by cybercriminals on devices like computers were now being used across a range of devices from smartphones to home appliances connected to the internet.
“Some cybercriminals are gentle and will hold devices and data for ransom until users read a document about cyber-safety, while others have no honour and even after ransom has been paid, the user has no guarantee they will get their data back,” he said.
But what does this mean for consumers?
According to a survey, more than 18 000 consumers across 18 countries were surveyed on issues of online crime as part of the Norton Cyber security Insights Report.
It looks like it doesn’t matter how old you are, because Millennial and Generation-Xers are equally likely to have been victims within the last year at a staggering 39% and 37% respectively.
South Africans have heightened sensitivity to online information breaches as 76% believed identity theft was more likely than ever before. Meanwhile, 67% of South Africans surveyed also said they felt it was easier to control personal information before smartphones and the internet.
According to Passeri, once hackers have user data they could do whatever they wanted as every attack was an opportunist lucrative way to make money with the same tools being used to repeat the attack.
Will this affect the stock market? Cisco Connect South Africa took place in Sun City on 5 to 7 March.