“There’s no rest for the wicked” is a phrase that scammers tend to live by, and 2021 was no different, with 79% of South African companies surveyed by Liquid Intelligent Technologies reporting an increase in cyber security threats in 2021.
This was attributed primarily to a shift to working from home in South Africa due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The most common cybersecurity threats these businesses experienced were email attacks that included spam, phishing attempts, and social engineering attacks.
Email phishing attempts can take on several forms, from less-severe scams to sharing files containing malware that can take control of a user’s computer or an entire network.
Less-severe examples include scam emails that tell a story to try and elicit a response from the recipient to get them to provide the attacker with sensitive information — we’ve all received the classic email from a “foreign investor” promising to transfer millions of dollars into our bank account.
On the other end of the scale, several successful email attacks have contained legitimate-looking attachments that, when opened, install malware on the computer that allows the hacker to take control of the device.
This, in turn, allows the malicious actor to access and secure any sensitive information stored on the computer.
Some hackers even aim to access popular social media accounts by sending phishing emails containing “pass-the-cookie-attack” malware.