Cape Town – Theft of online accounts is one of the chief threats for internet users in South Africa, research suggests.
In a survey conducted by security firm Kaspersky Lab in conjunction with B2B International, 83% were most concerned by the possibility of accounts being hacked.
The theft of passwords at 80% came in as the second biggest concern, with financial threats third at 74%.
Despite the fear of data theft, few people take the fear seriously, said Kaspersky.
"People are concerned about the safety of their online accounts, although in reality few of them think they will be targeted by a cyber attack. And that’s where they’re wrong,” said Peter Aleshkin, head of Consumer Marketing in Emerging Markets for Kaspersky Lab.
The research showed that while 86% of internet users are most familiar with threats such as credential theft, users were most ignorant of threats such as distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks and espionage.
“Unsurprisingly, DDoS and espionage campaigns are the threats that users are least familiar with – 29% and 27% of respondents globally, respectively, have not heard about them,” said Kaspersky, adding that these type of attacks usually affected large corporations more than ordinary internet users.
The survey showed that only 26% of South Africans believe they could be targeted by cyber criminals, though 54% believe that cyber crime is on the increase.
Aleshkin warned that ignorance of the cyber threat landscape could leave internet users in SA vulnerable.
“Attackers often rely on the element of surprise, when users least expect it. That’s why Kaspersky Lab recommends internet users to expand their knowledge of current internet threats, to be alert and make sure their security solutions are primed and ready.”
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