Norton by Symantec has released its findings from the Norton Cybersecurity Insights Report revealing that despite growing concerns over online crime, over 8.8 million South Africans fell victim to it in the past year.
Surveying more than 18,000 consumers across 18 markets, including about 1,000 across South Africa, the research sheds a light on the global impact of consumer cybercrime, showing:
- 76% of South Africans believe that identity theft is more likely than ever before;
- 2 in 3 (67%) feel it is more difficult to control their personal information as a result of smartphones and the Internet;
- South Africans are engaged with the topic of security (78% acknowledge the need to actively protect their information), but there is still some notion that security is an inconvenience;
- 58% would rather cancel dinner plans with their best friend than have to cancel their credit/debit cards after their account has been compromised;
- And the same percentage (58%) would rather endure a terrible date than deal with credit/debit card customer service after a breach or hack.
Technology both an enabler and a barrier
Online crimes are increasingly prevalent with more than 1 in 7 having had unauthorised access to a social network profile. Compared to their global counterparts, South Africans have heightened sensitivity to online information compromises – 76 percent believed identity theft was more likely than ever before and 67 percent said it was easier to control personal information before smartphones and the Internet.
South Africans are more likely than their global counterparts to consider themselves tech savvy, but despite this, South African millennials are less likely to take personal responsibility for their security – nearly 1 in 3 millennials admits to abandoning an account rather than deleting it simply because it was easier (31%).
Millennials and Generation Xers are equally likely to have been victims within the last year at a staggering 39% and 37% respectively. However, only 23% of South Africans aged 55 and over experienced cybercrime during this period.
Additional findings include:
- Nearly 1 in 5 does not have a password on his/her smartphone or desktop computer;
- 6 in 10 consumers say it is riskier to share their email passwords with a friend than lend him/her their car for a day;
- Storing credit/banking information in the cloud is viewed as riskier than not wearing a seatbelt;
- South Africans are more likely to own internet-enabled devices than their global counterparts; smartphones and laptops being most common;
- Though most devices are protected, South Africans falter when it comes to protecting home theatre devices, wearables, and Internet-connected video game systems;
- Devices considered easiest to hack are among the most frequently used, such as a smartphones and laptops.
Too much hassle to be careful
The research has shown that although there are considerable interest and fear in cybercrime, South Africans consider security measures to be a hassle. Fifty eight percent would rather cancel dinner with their best friend than cancel their debit or credit cards when hacked.
- Over 1 in 3 South Africans admits to password sharing with email account passwords most shared;
- Nearly 7 in 10 change their passwords after they’ve been compromised… meaning nearly a third don’t (32 percent);
- Over half check their accounts after a breach has been announced by the media;
- While nearly half of South African password users always use one that is secure, 1 in 5 still only does so when required;
- Dealing with the consequences of a stolen identity is considered more stressful than many everyday inconveniences.
“The good news is more and more consumers are aware of the risks of cybercrime but the bad news is they neither feel they are doing enough to prevent it, or feel that technology has prevented them from being able to do anything about it,” said David Ribeiro, Head of Norton, Middle East and Africa. “Despite personal experience, many South Africans continue to put themselves at risk when it comes to online activity.”
Norton recommends the following best practices:
- Passwords are the key to your kingdom so exercise caution and do not share.
- Review all bank account and credit card statements to see if there are any irregularities.
- Always use trusted online payment methods.
- Do your research on merchants before purchasing online.
- Never let your bank cards out of your sight.
Data journalism takes top prize in revamped awards
The entries to the 2018 Vodacom Journalist of the Year Awards were extraordinarily varied and of an excellent standard, with new categories introduced which are based on content as opposed to platforms. This year, the judges decided that two entries were equally worthy of the coveted Vodacom Journalist of the Year Award.
The first co-winning entry, in the new Data Journalism category, is a set of stories by Alastair Otter and Laura Grant of Media Hack which showed how Data Journalism is shaping the future. The second co-winning entrant is Bongani Fuzile of the Daily Dispatch for his articles in the investigative category on how migrant workers were being ripped off by pension deductions (full citations below).
Convenor of the judging panel Ryland Fisher says: “This year we modernised the 12 categories that journalists could enter their work in and the change was embraced by entrants. In a turbulent time for media, the 2018 entries once again proved that there are excellent South African journalists delivering praiseworthy work, and we commend them for finding new and innovative ways to cover the news.”
Takalani Netshitenzhe, Chief Officer for Corporate Affairs at the Vodacom Group, says: “Vodacom is proud of its 17-year association with these prestigious awards, which make an important contribution to our society through the recognition of journalistic excellence. I’d like to congratulate all of tonight’s winners and, as always, I’d like to pay tribute to our hardworking judges. Ryland Fisher, Mathatha Tsedu, Arthur Goldstuck, Collin Nxumalo, Elna Rossouw, Patricia McCracken, Megan Rusi, Mary Papayya, Albe Grobbelaar and Obed Zilwa: thank you for making these awards a continued success.”
Veteran journalist and media stalwart Ms Amina Frense is the winner of the 2018 Vodacom Journalist of the Year Lifetime Achiever Award. She has spent decades in mainstream media both locally and internationally. She is a former Managing Editor: News and Current Affairs at the SA Broadcasting Corporation. She has worked in many countries abroad as a producer and a foreign correspondent, has written two books and is also a founding member of SANEF where she still serves as a council member (full citation below).
The overall winners share the R100 000 main prize. National winners in the various categories are as follows, with each winner taking home R10 000:
The entries in this category were of an exceptionally high standard. One entrant stood out and became the unanimous winner. This journalist showed an exceptional skill for story-telling and for finding unexpected angles and unknown facts. For his stories about Musangwe’s fight for recognition, Age cheating in SA football, and Hansie Cronje revisited, the winner is Ronald Masinda, and the team of Gift Kganyago, Nceba Ntlanganiso and Charles Lombard from eSAT TV.
Cons exploit Telegram ICO
Kaspersky Lab researchers have uncovered dozens of highly convincing fake websites claiming to be investment sites for an initial coin offering (ICO) by the Telegram messaging service. Many of these websites appear to belong to the same group. In one case alone, tens of thousands of US dollars’ worth of cryptocurrency were stolen from victims believing they were investing in ‘Grams’, Telegram’s rumoured new currency. Telegram has not officially confirmed an ICO and has warned people about fraudulent investor sites.
In late 2017, stories started to circulate that the Telegram messaging service was launching an initial coin offering (ICO) to finance a blockchain platform based on its TON (Telegram Open Network) technology. Unverified technical documentation was posted online, but there appears to have been no confirmation from Telegram itself. The resulting confusion seems to have allowed fraudsters to capitalise on investor interest by creating fake sites and stealing vast sums of money.
Kaspersky Lab researchers have discovered dozens of such sites, possibly belonging to the same group, claiming to sell tokens for ‘Grams’ and inviting investors to pay with cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin, Ethereum, lice litecoin, dash and Bitcoin dash. A record of transactions on one site revealed that the scammers were able to steal at least $35,000 US dollars’ worth of Ethereum from investors.
The researchers found that some of the websites were so convincing that even after Telegram and others began to issue warnings, they were still able to recruit potential investors. Most use a secure connection, require registration and generate a unique online wallet for each new victim, making it harder to track the money.
Judging by the content of the fake websites, it appears they may have common ownership. For example, several have the exactly the same ‘Our Team’ section.
“ICOs are a fairly risky investment and many people don’t yet fully understand how they work, so it is not surprising that high quality fake websites, with seemingly reassuring features such as a secure connection and registration are successful at luring people in. People wishing to invest in an ICO would do well to check with the company behind it and make sure they know exactly who they are giving their money to, or they may never see it again,” said Nadezhda Demidova, Lead Web-Content Analyst, Kaspersky Lab.
Kaspersky Lab offers the following advice for users considering investing in an ICO:
- Check for warning signs: for example, some of the fake Telegram ICO websites had the same wrong image next to the name of Telegram’s Chief Product Officer.
- Do your homework: always check with the brand’s official site to verify the legitimacy of the investment site and, if necessary contact the company’s ICO teams before investing any money or currency.
- Use reliable security solutions such as Kaspersky Internet Security and Kaspersky Internet Security for Android, which will warn you if you try to visit fake internet pages.