A new study has revealed that with cyber threats on the rise, there are over one million new security threats released every single day from viruses, hacks or identify threats and no doubt our information is at risk of being exposed.Recently, the United States government revealed that Chinese hack of federal personnel files included sensitive security-clearance database on millions of federal employees and contractors. Everything all of us do on the Internet from making video calls, travel plans, keeping in touch with friends or seeing what our friends are up to on social media platforms leaves a trail of information about ourselves, location,finances,partners among other relationships relationships, finances to mention but a few.Even when we take steps to protect ourselves offline by installing home security systems including locking our gates, it’s now more important than ever for us to cover our digital tracks and understand where we might be vulnerable.
However the majority of people undervalue their data by freely giving away e-mail addresses and login credentials without checking that they were on a legitimate website.Although scammers have certainly evolved with their tactics and ventured onto new platforms, a lot of their success continues to come from our willingness to fall for predictable and easily avoided scams. Symantec’s Internet Security Threat Report Volume 20 revealed that the big shift in social media scams in 2014 was the uptake in manual sharing scams.This is where people voluntarily and unwittingly share enticing videos, stories, pictures, and offers that actually include links to malicious and affiliate sites.While social media scams are able to provide cyber criminals with quick cash, some rely on more lucrative and aggressive attack methods like ransomware, which according to Symantec, rose to 113% in 2014.Instead of pretending to be law enforcement seeking a fine for stolen content, the more vicious crypto-ransomware attack style holds a victim’s photos,files and other digital content hostage without masking the attacker’s intention.
A Cape Town computer hacker is said to have infected more than100 computers in South Africa and within Southern African countries with a program to capture online details,according to a researcher based there in 2014.According to research that was conducted mid last year, the Cape Town hacker used the internet to teach himself the necessary hacking and programming skills to launch his attack in 2012 but was caught when suspicious web activity was spotted and tracked by South African police.Researchers also found out that another hacker from Angola, modified and sold Chinese built software to allow others to infect computers, thanks to his obsession with the world of cyber fantasy.In 2014, South Africa ranked 2nd after Nigeria in the Africa for the number of social media scams.More than 70 % of such scams were shared manually, 20% higher than the global average as attackers took advantage of people’s willingness to trust content shared by their friends.
One such scam in 2014 took advantage of the Oscar Pistorius trials, with a social media post purporting to share his video pleading guilty.Unwitting users in Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe and South Africa were asked to share the video with their friends before they could view it, and were instructed to fill out surveys, download software, or were redirected to a fake news website.There was no video of Oscar Pistorius. With manual sharing the cyber criminal can sit back and watch users do the work for them, there’s no need for them to perform any hacks. CyberSecurity arm of South Africa Police that boasts of national cyber security specialist alerted the public early last month to the rising trend in cyber blackmail scams. Victims are targeted through social networking sites, where the perpetrator usually creates a profile on a social networking site portraying him or herself as an attractive person, befriend and flirt with potential victims, and subsequently invite them for intimate video chats.