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By 15 November 2017 | Categories: Events

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Cybersecurity is one of those topics that cannot be discussed enough. The reason for this is simple - the cybercrime arena is always active and the jeopardy it poses is all too real.The bad news is that every country and every organisation is now potentially at risk of being attacked; there is quite simply no place to hide.

The good news is that there are security companies highly cognisant of this fact, and doing what they can to help businesses and individuals protect themselves. One such company is Check Point Software Technologies, which held its first Check Point Experience in South Africa this week in Lonehill.

During an illuminating round table discussion, the Check Point team explained what’s new in cybersecurity, how the threat landscape has changed and where companies are falling behind. The first point raised by Doros Hadjizenonos, the country manager of Check Point SA, is that contrary to what some may like to think, South Africa is actually quite susceptible to cyber attacks, particularly from malware. Far from being ignored by cybercriminals, the country is now the 26th most at risk country according to October’s threat index. “This means that locally organisations really need to take their cybersecurity to the next level,” he stressed.

Doros Hadjizenonos, Country Manager, Check Point South Africa

Scanning the landscape

This is only made more urgent by the current threat landscape. Tony Jarvis, the chief strategist for threat prevention, Asia Pacific (APAC), Middle East and Africa at Check Point, explained that we are seeing both new and old threats at present. One of the new developments is an increase of nation state attacks from countries with massive resources and budgets, which attack a specific victim.

On the other end of the spectrum, Jarvis pointed out that launching an attack is now more accessible to those with no hacking experience at all.  “Instead, anyone can either just buy a piece of software that makes orchestrating a denial of service attack easy, or pay someone a small amount of money to launch an attack for them on a target of their choosing,” he elaborates. This means that companies are no longer just vulnerable to a few sophisticated attackers, they  are also vulnerable to anyone with a bit of money who may have a grudge.

Tony Jarvis, Chief Strategist for Threat Prevention, APAC, Middle East and Africa, Check Point

What lies ahead

“We are often asked about our predictions for 2018, and my answer is:the same as what  are seeing now. This is for two reasons - what cybercriminals are doing is working, and this makes them unlikely to change their tactics in the year ahead. Secondly, companies don’t learn why the attacks on their security are taking place, and don’t  do a great job at securing themselves,” he continued.

As for the old threats that persist, Jarvis noted that these consist of the same problems that Check Point has witnessed time and again.

These include failing to install patches, inadequately designing their networks and neglecting security training. “Quite simply, many organisations don’t take their cybersecurity seriously enough, and do not include cybersecurity as part and parcel of a new IT project. Instead, we see organisations that hear about the latest threat and hastily try put countermeasures in place, but without the benefit of a holistic view to their cybersecurity going forward,” he noted.

Jarvis didn’t hold back on what this will mean in the short and long term. ”We will see more ransomware attacks, attacks on critical infrastructure, and as the Internet of Things (IoT) becomes more prevalent, this too will pose an enticing target for attackers to take advantage of,” he warned.

So why now is it even more important to take cybersecurity seriously? Who are today’s cybercriminals, and what can be done? These questions are answered in Part 2.

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