Hidden Online Dangers Threatening South Africans in 2019

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The Internet is amazing, that we know.  But even the most amazing forms of technology have dark consequences to them.  With the Internet and it’s spread across the world, security is an alarming issue that has only continued to grow.  There are countless cyber criminals that will stop at nothing to gain some money or prove a point.  Unfortunately, South Africa is no stranger to these dangers.

For years, South Africa has been a major victim of cyber attacks and dirty tricks performed by cyber criminals.  From businesses to the individual, many have faced some sort of turmoil thanks to hacks, leaks, or any other form of cyber-crime.

1.   Businesses Are at Risk

Businesses seem to have a difficult time when it comes to cyber-security.  For example, Liberty Holdings, an insurance firm based in South Africa, announced a major hack that occurred in June of 2018.  The cyber-criminals then attempted to try to coax money out of the firm by demanding money for their data back.

Another example is the defamation of the President’s website in July of 2018.  You’d think that something as important as a President’s website wouldn’t be so easy to hack, but there’s always a backdoor.  Fortunately, there was no data leak this time around, so the President got off lucky.

These are two out of many cases where the Internet has made criminal activity much easier to commit.  It’s not as if these data breaches only affect data either.  According to IBM, each data breach in South Africa costs the business an expense of R36.5m!

To even worsen these facts, a company could be breached at any time and not even know until almost half a year later.  Data breaches usually take an average of 163 days.  And identifying a data breach also costs money, averaging around R9.5m.

Businesses should think ahead of their cyber-safety, or else it will really cost them later.

2.   Risk of Wifi-Hacking

Unsurprisingly, businesses aren’t the only ones affected by cyber criminals.  The average individual may be unaware of what dangers lurk in the blind spots of a network, so these individuals become prime targets for cyber-crime.

The main danger that has affected many people are the use of fake Wi-fi hotspots.

With these fake hotspots, every individual becomes a target.  These hotspots are set up next to another public network, sharing eerily-similar characteristics to the real hotspot.  The actual differences between the hotspots are hidden well enough for the average individual to not notice.

Once the user connects to the fake hotspot, data to their accounts and searches is logged and sent to the creators of said hotspot.  After this, all your info is stolen and either kept or sold.  Either way, your information is in danger.

Luckily, there is a way to keep your data from being stolen.  Using a Virtual Private Network, abbreviated as VPN, keeps your data safe on whatever hotspot you are connected to.  So, to keep yourself safe, download a VPN for South Africa and keep that data secure.

 

3.   Oversharing on Social Media

This is a common mistake that many people across the world have and will make.  Even though it may be tempting to share every fascinating moment in your life, don’t.  These posts can end up costing you a lot of money later down the line.

A recent example of this is when a South African lady claimed for car repairs after her BMW was driven into a tree.  Before social media, insurance companies wouldn’t really think twice about this kind of thing and would approve the claim.  Unfortunately for this woman, her son had a Facebook account.

The son had made a post saying that he crashed the BMW after a “night on the town”.  Because the insurance company found this, the claim for the repairs was rejected.

Is an insurance company viewing your social media an invasion of privacy?  Legally, no.  They are using social media to confirm or deny claims, as many have submitted dishonest claims in the past.  But you still must be careful.  Oversharing on social media can always lead to indirect consequence.

What I’m trying to say is, don’t post about your crashed car and file a claim later.

 

Cyber-crime is a common problem across the world, and South Africa is no exception.  Next time you are thinking about connecting to that hotspot or making that Instagram post, think about the dangers outlined here.  Criminals can strike from anywhere.

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