Festive Season Cybercrime Alert

Festive Season Cybercrime Alert

South African businesses, already facing significant risk of cyberattacks, have been warned to step up their cybersecurity as the festive season is expected to see significantly more and increasingly sophisticated cyberattacks. Below are listed some of the common types of cyberattacks.

Common cyberattacks

• Phishing (random fraudulent emails), spear phishing (emails targeting specific people or companies), vishing (voice phishing) and smishing (SMS phishing) – these all refer to fraudulent communications that appear to come from a reputable source, such as a bank or a government organisation, with the aim of tricking employees or individuals to share data, pay money to criminals or download malware.
• Malware – including viruses, worms, trojans, spyware, rootkits – typically used to breach a network when a user clicks a link or an email attachment from a trusted source that then installs risky software.
• Ransomware attacks – ransomware infects networks and encrypts or locks data, allowing attackers to demand a ransom for unlocking or releasing the data.
• Hacking – including distributed denial-of-service attacks (DDoS) and keylogging.
• Man-in-the-middle (MitM) or eavesdropping attacks in which attackers insert themselves between a user’s device and a network to filter and steal data, commonly through unsecure public Wi-Fi and compromised devices.

SARS: a favourite cyberattack ruse

SARS says that there is a steady increase in scams and attacks in which the SARS brand is abused, via the Internet, emails, spoofed websites, SMSs, unsolicited telephone calls and even social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and others.

A firm criminal favourite are phishing frauds involving false “spoofed” emails made to look as if they were sent by SARS. These fraudulent emails contain links to fake forms and malicious websites purporting to be authentic and lure unsuspecting taxpayers to disclose private and confidential information such as bank account details. Examples include emails that appear to be from “returns @sars.co.za” or “refunds @sars.co.za” indicating that taxpayers are eligible to receive tax refunds.

The latest scams involve smishing, which is phishing via SMSs, and vishing which most recently involves taxpayers being called by a person purporting to be a SARS employee to inform them that SARS owes them money.

Another common cyberattack approach involves refund frauds in which identity thieves use a legitimate taxpayer’s identity to file a tax return and claim a refund fraudulently. Yet another threat involves cybercriminals using personal or company information to change the banking details on the taxpayers’ SARS profiles.The full article is for subscribed members only. To view the full article please subscribe. It’s FREE!Log In Register

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