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July 25, 2023

4 Common Cyber Attacks



Common cyber attacks

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The number of Cyber-attacks in South Africa.

South Africa experiences an average of 97 cyber-attacks per hour, or 2,409 cyber-attacks per day.

The most common cyber-attacks in South Africa

  • Phishing
  • BEC (Business email compromise attacks)
  • Ransomware
  • Malware


Phishing is a kind of cyber-attack in which a sender sends you an email or text message that appears to be from a trustworthy source, such your bank, credit card company, or government agency. There will frequently be a link or a request for personal information, like your password, credit card number, or Social Security number, in the email or text message. Once you click the link or give the attacker your personal data, they can steal your identity or use it to perpetrate fraud.

Here are a few illustrations of phishing emails and texts:

  • An email from your bank informing you that your account has been hijacked and requesting that you verify your information by clicking on a link.
  • A text message from your credit card company informing you that a fraudulent purchase was made using your card and that you need to call a phone number to cancel it.
  • a SARS email informing you that you owe taxes and that you must click a link to pay them.

There are a few things you can do to protect yourself if you get an email or text message that appears to be from a reliable source but you are unsure if it is:

  • If you're concerned that the email or text message might be genuine, get in touch with the business or organization directly by phone or through their website. • Don't click on any links in the email or text message. • Don't give any personal information, like your password, credit card number, or Social Security number.

You may help defend yourself from phishing attacks by exercising caution and paying attention to the advice provided here.


Business email compromise (BEC) attacks

A cyberattack known as a "business email compromise" (BEC) occurs when an attacker gains access to a company email account and uses it to send phony emails to partners, clients, or workers. The phony emails frequently ask for money or private information, including passwords or credit card details. The attacker can commit fraud or identity theft after receiving the money or information.

Here are a few instances of BEC assaults:

  • A hacker who gains access to a CEO's email account sends a message to the CFO of the company requesting a wire transfer of a sizable sum of money.
  • An attacker gains access to an employee's email account and uses it to send emails to customers asking for personal information like credit card numbers or Social Security numbers. • An attacker hacks into a vendor's email account and asks the company's purchasing department for a change in payment information.

BEC assaults can cost firms a lot of money. Businesses suffered projected losses from BEC assaults of $2.4 billion in 2021.

Businesses can take the following steps to defend themselves from BEC attacks:

  • Educate staff members on BEC attacks and how to recognize them.
  • For all email accounts, use two-factor authentication and strong passwords.
  • Keep an eye out for suspicious activities in email traffic.
  • Establish a strategy for dealing with BEC assaults.



Malware known as ransomware encrypts your files and demands a ransom payment to unlock them. You won't be able to view your files after they have been encrypted. Bitcoin or Ethereum are frequently used as the preferred forms of cryptocurrencies for the ransom payment.

There are numerous techniques to conduct ransomware attacks. The use of phishing emails is one popular technique. When you click the link or file in the email, the ransomware is downloaded into your machine. Once installed, the ransomware will encrypt your data.

Through drive-by downloads, ransomware attacks can also be made. When you go to a website that has been infected by ransomware, this happens. The ransomware will immediately download onto your machine when you visit the page.

Attacks using ransomware can be quite expensive. Businesses suffered estimated losses from ransomware attacks of $6.9 billion in 2021.

Following are some options if you believe you have been affected by ransomware:

  • Avoid paying the ransom. Even if you pay the ransom, there is no assurance that you will get the decryption key.
  • Make a copy of your files. You can restore your files from a backup if you've recently made one.
  • Speak with the police. You should get in touch with the authorities if you've contracted ransomware. They might be able to assist you in finding the attackers and regaining access to your files.

You can lessen your chance of falling victim to ransomware attacks by being aware of them and taking precautions for your safety.

Here are some recommendations for avoiding ransomware:

  • Maintain software updates. Security patches that can defend you against ransomware assaults are frequently included in software upgrades.
  • Make use of two-factor authentication and secure passwords. Your accounts can be protected against hacking with the use of strong passwords and two-factor authentication.
  • Use caution while selecting links to click. Emails from unknown senders should not contain links or attachments that should be opened.
  • Regularly backup your files. If your data are encrypted by ransomware, having a recent backup of them may be able to assist you decrypt them.
  • Launch an antivirus program. Ransomware may be found and removed with the aid of antivirus software.



Malicious software that can harm your computer or network is referred to as malware. It has the ability to harm your data, steal your personal information, and even take over your machine. There are numerous ways in which malware can spread, including:

Phishing emails are those that pretend to be from a reliable source, such your bank or credit card firm. They frequently have an attachment or link that, when opened, downloads malware onto your computer.

  • Drive-by downloads: When you go to a website that has been infected by malware, this happens. The malware will automatically download into your machine when you visit the page.
  • USB drives that have malware on them: These drives can have malware on them before being inserted into your computer. The malware will be downloaded to your machine if you do this.
  • P2P file sharing networks: These networks may contain files that contain malware. There is a possibility that a file you download from a P2P network contains malware.

You can take a number of steps to safeguard yourself from malware, such as:

  • Maintain software updates: Security patches included in software updates can help shield you from malware attacks.
  • Make use of strong passwords and two-factor authentication: Both of these security measures can assist prevent account hacking.
  • Use caution when clicking on things: Never open attachments or links in emails from senders you don't recognize.
  • Regularly backup your files: If malware accidentally deletes or damages them, you may be able to restore them from a recent backup.
  • Use antivirus software: Malware can be found and eliminated with the use of antivirus software.
  • Recognize the most recent malware threats: Malware comes in a wide variety of forms, therefore it's critical to be informed on the most recent dangers. On security websites and blogs, you can get information about the most recent malware dangers.

You can help safeguard yourself from malware and the damage it can do by heeding these recommendations.

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