Move aside malware, the rising threat is stalkerware

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  • Cyberattacks, fraud, phishing, breaches and hacks have increased in sophistication, focus and capability, says an expert.
  • Criminals are becoming much more focused – instead of distributing encrypted files widely, they pick a target and find out all they can about that target.
  • In SA half of all companies surveyed suffered a ransomware attack in the past year, which led to an average of seven days of downtime.

Consumers must remain vigilant when it comes to their online activities if they are to keep themselves safe from the growing threat of cyberattacks – especially as criminals become more focused and sophisticated.

Moreover, stalkerware – a more focused form of cyber-attack – is on the rise. 

Lehan van den Heever, enterprise cyber security advisor for Kaspersky in Africa, explains that stalkerware is focused on specific individuals.

Among other things, stalkerware can enable the perpetrator to track a victim’s location, read their messages, view their photos and videos, eavesdrop on telephone conversations, and see everything typed on the keypad.

Cyberattacks, fraud, phishing, breaches and hacks have increased in sophistication, focus and capability, according to Anna Collard, senior vice president of content strategy at KnowBe4 Africa.

“Every front is vulnerable, every corner at risk, and the skills required to support organisations in the battle are rare, expensive and hard to find. Furthermore, there is a pressing need to empower women within the cybersecurity space,” she says.

No one immune

These warnings come on the back of an attack on Virgin Active’s systems on Friday.

On Friday evening, the gym group announced that it had become aware of a cyber-attack and that its security experts “immediately started working with cyber-security experts to carefully contain, manage and investigate the cyber event,” it said in a notice posted on its site.  

This was after its site had been inaccessible for some time during the day. 

It said it had been targeted by “sophisticated cybercriminals” and had taken its systems offline as it attempted to resolve the issue. 

There was no indication that any data had been removed from its systems, Virgin Active said. 

Ransomware? Don’t…