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South Africa is currently ranking in the top 5 cybercrime hot spots globally and therefor businesses are posed with a serious threat. Annual Crime Statistics Report that digital crime increased by 4.9% from previous years with more than R2.6 million in losses for unsuspecting victims.

According to Rick Crouch & Associates over 70% of South Africans have fallen victim to cyber crime and other risky behaviour, compared to 50% globally, and 47% of South African smartphone users have experienced mobile cyber crime within the last year, compared to 38% globally.

Handre van der Merwe from identity and IT security solutions consultants BUI says that South Africa hasn’t kept up with the changing cybercrime landscape leaving itself vulnerable to cyber hackers.

“The perception is that hackers are only targeting small businesses, but its often small to medium sized businesses that unwittingly provide gateways for cyber villains to exploit.” says van der Merwe

PayProp CEO, Jan Davel says potential for cybercrime is high in residential sales and rental transactions, “Property businesses such as estate agencies handle substantial financial transactions including monthly rent and upfront damage deposit payments, making them the perfect target for criminal activity”

A prime example of this would be a ‘middle-man-attack’ says Deval. This is when the electric communication between an agent and a buyer is intercepted and banking information is altered, redirecting money into the wrong account.

Here are 5 ways to avoid cyber attacks:

  1. Passwords: Regularly change passwords.
  2. Raise Awareness within your business of risk: Make sure your staff members are educated in the risk of cybercrime and are taking the necessary measures to prevent it.
  3. Access: Control physical access to your computers and network components.
  4. Software Updates: Download and install software updates for your operating systems and applications as they become available.
  5. Antivirus Software: regularly update antivirus and antispyware software on every computer used in your business and use a firewall for your Internet connection.