Cyber Security

Cyber Crime Spikes: Android smartphones in South Africa, second-most hit by banking malware

Android smartphones in South Africa are the second-most targeted for banking malware, as malicious software attacks in general saw double-digit increases in the country, new research has revealed.

South Africa saw malware attacks increase by 22% year-on-year in the first quarter of this year, according to Kaspersky Lab, which held its annual Cyber Security Weekend in Cape Town.

There are 13,842 cyber attacks per day in Africa’s most sophisticated economy, says Amin Hasbini, Kaspersky’s head of global research and analysis for in the Middle East, Turkey and Africa. That equates to just less than 577 attempted attacks every hour, or just over nine every second.

Kaspersky said there was an 8% increase in malware detections in the first quarter of the year over the previous year, while mobile malware increased at over 17%, more than computer malware.

Mobile banking fraud incidents have doubled in the January to August period from 2017 to 2018, according to the South African Banking Risk Information Centre’s (SABRIC) inaugural digital banking crime statistics report.

“We are all too aware that the advent of digital technology has seen the exploitation of digital platforms by criminals,” the report states.

In 2017, there were 13,438 incidents using banking apps, online banking and mobile banking which cost the industry over R250 million in gross losses, it found.

From January to August 2018, there was a 64% increase, but the increase in gross losses was just 7% when compared to the same period in 2017. But comparing the same period to 2017 there was an increase of more than 100%, with gross losses of R23,5 million. Online banking incidents increased 44% in the same period with gross losses of R89 million and banking app incidents increased by 20%, with gross losses of R70 million. SIM swops increased 104% in the same period, the report found.

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