Check Point Software Technologies Ltd., a leading provider of cybersecurity solutions globally, is reminding African organisations of the importance of cybersecurity training for employees, following the recent cyber-attack on Shoprite Holdings.
Ransomware attacks are currently rife – and increasing – across the African continent. In the first quarter of 2022, Check Point Research has noted a 23% increase in ransomware attacks compared to 2021 – with 1 out of 44 organisations now impacted weekly, on average.
This is compared to 1 out of 53 organisations impacted globally. Ransomware attacks are becoming the most lucrative type of cybercrime, enabling criminal gangs to rake in huge profits. In the last few months alone, these attacks have disrupted large organisations in South Africa from Dis-Chem to Capitec and Transnet.
According to a statement by the Shoprite supermarket chain, which is the largest in Africa, the company suffered a ransomware attack that may have put the personal data of customers and users across Eswatini, Namibia and Zambia at risk. The data compromise included names and ID numbers, but no financial information.
Hacking group RansomHouse claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it took some 600GB of data.
According to the group, the lack of cybersecurity practices by Shoprite employees was easy to exploit, with many keeping large amounts of personal data in unprotected plain text.
With employees being the first line of defence in security and prevention, this is an important reminder of the need to implement regular cybersecurity training, as well as clear procedures and policies for data storage.
In response to the ransomware attack, Shoprite Holdings were quick to implement additional security measures, including amending authentication processes and detection strategies, and locking down affected areas of the network. “While these measures are good, they still reflect another concerning reality,” says Pankaj Bhula: Check Point’s EMEA Regional Director: Africa. “Many local businesses are still one step behind cybercriminals, following a detect and respond approach rather than a prevent-first one. Prevent-first is critical to protect against today’s sophisticated Gen V attacks.” says Bhula.
To bolster defences against ransomware, Check Point Software reminds all organisations to:
1: Have a robust, secure data backup solution in place
2: Provide frequent cybersecurity awareness training to all employees, especially around phishing attacks
3: Enforce a strong password policy, requiring the use of multi-factor authentication
4: Keep computers up to date and apply security patches, especially those labelled as critical.