By September 25, 2019

Cyber-Security A Major Threat To The Banking Sector: Criminals Now Impersonating CEOs

By September 25, 2019

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As technology advances apace, cyber-attacks continue to become more sophisticated and more prevalent. Criminals are always keen to update their tactics so as to exploit digital platforms and defraud victims.

According to Group-IB expert evaluations, almost 99 percent of all cybercrimes in the world involve money theft and this puts financial institutions under great threat. Reliable reports also indicate that cyberattacks are growing at a rapid pace.

According to Bryan Hamman, Arbor Network’s territory manager for sub-Saharan Africa, South Africa had the most cyber-attacks across Africa in 2014, with losses estimated at around ZAR 50 Bn.

And now criminals are impersonating South African executives including CEOs to steal money from companies, this is according to the South African Banking Risk Information Centre (Sabric).

These criminals pretend to be these executives and send emails to junior staff requesting for urgent payment to a particular beneficiary.

“Digital technology, combined with social engineering which exploits our human tendency to be compliant when faced with a directive from an authority figure, enables criminals to perpetuate this type of crime,” said Sabric CEO Susan Potgieter.

Potgieter revealed that the criminals extract information from company websites and other online platforms to identify the details of CEOs, financial directors and other senior individuals, which they use to target employees.

“We urge staff to be vigilant about checking a sender’s email address very carefully should they receive an email instructing them to make a payment. Often, the address will only differ by one or two characters,” Potgieter said.

SA’s financial services industry continues to experience many security threats and earlier reports indicated that SA banks are setting up Financial Crime Information Centres (FCIC) which will work collaboratively with banks to combat cybercrime.

The country known to be Africa’s most industrialized was ranked the third-worst country for cyberattacks in the world. An estimated 32 percent of SA companies in 2016 were affected by cybercrime.

Experts have continuously called for urgent regulatory changes to address the challenge of cyber-crimes.

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