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  • Held Hostage: Beware the Fake Antivirus

Held Hostage: Beware the Fake Antivirus

16 May 2017

Graham Croock, Director, IT Audit, Risk and Cyber Lab, BDO South Africa

Hackers are discovering that it is more profitable to hold data hostage rather than to steal it. Over the weekend, a global scale cyberattack left businesses and government institutions; including hospitals; at the mercy of hackers using ransomware. Ransomware is a type of software that blocks users from gaining access to their own data until a ransom is paid.

Sophisticated skills are not required to effect this type of attack, leaving individuals and corporations alike, exposed to attacks.

“Beware of fake antivirus scams which promise to clean your computer for free,” warns Graham Croock, Director, IT Audit, Risk and Cyber Lab, BDO South Africa. “I urge people to also be aware of Trojan horse programs that lay in wait on e-commerce or banking sites.”

Ransomware criminals also have customer service lines, and victims are prompted to call for help using these dummy lines to gain access to data.

“We urge individuals and corporations to ensure that their technology and digital storage systems are tested, and risks be mitigated by expert cyber security companies to ensure the safety of their data,” he concludes.

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