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Ransomware is Increasingly Prevalent in South Africa

Itonline.co.za reported on 13th February, 2015 quoting Securicom, Special IT security vendor, as saying "Ransomware which is a very nasty type of malware which stops users from using their PCs is raising its head in South Africa."

Wikipedia says that 'Ransomware' usually transmits as a Trojan like a conventional computer worm which enters a system through as a downloaded file or vulnerability in a network service. The program will run a payload like the one which will begin to encrypt personal files on the hard drive and only the author of the malware knows about the decryption key. The malware encrypts some files on the hard drive of the system or lock the system wholly demanding a ransom amount to remove it.

It-online.co.za published news on 13th February, 2015 quoting Richard Broek, National Sales Manager of the company, as saying that infections of ransomware are going to become more widespread."

He warns that ransomware is precisely a real problem and further shed light on the malware.

He added that cybercriminals actually hold data of a company as a hostage and ransomware hits millions all over the world and experts are forecasting that it will target smaller businesses later on and companies in South Africa are not protected.

According to the company's stats only one firm was able to recover their data out of the three that reported of ransomware contamination in 2014. There is another company whose CFO's notebook got tainted and who actually paid ransom to retrieve sensitive data which did not have back up. Luckily, in this case the information was restored.

It is never guaranteed that the information will be returned even after paying the ransom and according to experts, paying ransom is not the best remedy. And as more and more firms continue to pay ransoms for the recovery of data, it becomes more profitable for criminals to continue.

Broeke advises that companies must re-focus on IT refuge to prevent these hacking.

South African companies, especially smaller ones, tend to fall short in IT security. The slackening economy causes reduction in budget resulting cut in expenses, fewer resources and reduced focus on security.

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