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Phishing attacks on the decline as cybercrims focus efforts

While it might seem like good news that phishing attacks in three African countries are on the decline, unfortunately the decline isn’t as good as it first appears.

Kaspersky reports that, during the first half of 2021, the number of phishing attacks it recorded and blocked fell by 17 percent in South Africa, 48 percent in Kenya and 13 percent in Nigeria compared to the same period in 2020.

“This decrease is in line with global trends and supports the decline that Kaspersky research identified happening through the course of last year already. Of course, this does not mean that organisations and consumers can ignore the risk of traditional cybercrime attacks or that phishing, as well as spam, are still not of significant concern across Africa,” says enterprise sales manager for Kaspersky in Africa, Bethwel Opil.

While the number of attacks has declined, we should point out that there are still millions of attacks taking place. In South Africa alone Kaspersky recorded over one million phishing attacks.

What should be of concern is that cybercriminals are more savvy and have honed their techniques in order to more effectively tempt victims to click things they otherwise wouldn’t.

Another alarming stat from Kaspersky is that spam is on the rise. The cybersecurity firm says that 30 percent of email traffic in South Africa was spam during the first half of 2021. In Kenya this stat is as high as 35 percent.

“Phishing and spam remain some of the most effective ways of targeting unsuspecting users and gaining access into corporate systems or compromising personal financial and other information that can be used to perpetrate identity theft,” explains Opil.

The cybersecurity firm recommends the following to guard against spam and phishing attacks:

  • Use multiple email addresses. One can be for personal correspondence while another can be used for online shopping or social media.
  • Never respond to any spam. Malicious users verify receipt and log responses of active email addresses.
  • Always check the link, before you click – hover over the link and make sure the links start with https:// and not http://.
  • Do not rush or panic react – scammers use such tactics to pressure you into clicking links or opening attachments.
  • Keep your browser and operating system software up to date with the latest patches.
  • Use anti-spam filters in addition to antivirus and Internet security solutions.

“People need to become even more aware of cybersecurity best practice and remain vigilant to protect their personal and business systems from the risk of compromise,” Opil concludes.

[Image – CC 0 Pixabay]

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