By Nico Strydom
The Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in many more people working online from home and the emphasis is once again on awareness regarding cyber safety.
According to reports, cyber crime has risen sharply ever since people started working from home in large numbers due to the countrywide lockdown. Jodi Hardy and Cindy Leibowitz of the legal firm Webber Wentzel say people working from home instead of their offices may result in them becoming victims of cyber crime more easily.
“Employees might possibly link to unsafe WiFi networks and personal appliances can be used without sufficient antivirus software or a firewall. This can then lead to malware gaining access to the appliances and the data stored on them and infecting them.
“There is also the risk of employees leaving appliances containing work-related data unprotected in unsafe areas. Employees could possibly also use their own, personal hardware, such as USBs and hard drives, for work purposes and these appliances might be infected.”
According to Hardy and Leibowitz, people can also use their personal email addresses for work purposes, which can also harbour a cyber safety risk.
Dr Martin Butler, senior lecturer in digital transformation at the University of Stellenbosch Management School, says the use of various programmes, such as video conference software, offers cyber criminals the ideal opportunity.
Butler advises people to put various preventative measures in place to ensure their online safety. “Use safe and complicated passwords and change them regularly. Don’t just click on links in emails and messages and make sure that your software is updated regularly.”
Penny Futter, African Bank’s head of information, says internet fraud, the spreading of false news and disruptive cyber attacks have become quite common.
“Use multifactor verification where possible, where you combine your user name and password with something such as a once-off password by way of an application on your phone. Be on the lookout for scams where cyber criminals try to get hold of your user names and passwords. Make sure your WiFi network at home is safe and keep your work environment private. “
According to Futter, people should be extremely wary of any suspicious-looking emails or other electronic activity that appear on their screens, cell phones or emails. “Don’t click on it or provide any information. Internet fraud is very common and you should pass on any suspicious-looking message or incidents to your work’s IT team.”
Webber Wentzel: https://webberwentzel.com/Pages/default.aspx
African Bank: https://www.africanbank.co.za/en/home/press-releases/