Unmasking the Threat: Understanding the Impact of Ransomware Attacks in South Africa

In an increasingly interconnected world, the threat of cyberattacks looms larger than ever. Among the most cunning forms of cybercrime is ransomware, a type of malware that encrypts victims’ data and demands a ransom for its release.

Ransomware attacks have become a significant concern for businesses in South Africa, with almost 220 million email threats detected in 2021. These attacks come in various forms, each with its own unique characteristics. One common type is “Locky,” which spreads through infected email attachments. Once opened, Locky encrypts files on the victim’s computer and demands a ransom for their release. Another prevalent ransomware variant is “WannaCry,” which exploits vulnerabilities in outdated software to infiltrate systems. It’s vital for businesses to understand ransomware attacks to build successful defence plans to prevent future cyberattacks.

One example of the damage that cybercrime can cause is the case of Postbank, which lost more than R18 million over three months in such attacks. These attacks were carried out by criminals who sent emails to Postbank customers that appeared to be from the bank. The emails contained links that, when clicked, installed malware on the victims’ computers. This malware then allowed the criminals to steal the victims’ personal and financial information. According to Sophos’ The State of Ransomware in South Africa 2023 report, 78% of South African organisations were struck by a ransomware attack in 2022. This is a significant increase from the previous year, when 51% of organisations were affected. The report also found that the average ransom demand for South African organisations was $1.7 million. This is higher than the global average of $1.5 million.

Cyber security leaders, Kaspersky, state that cyberattacks are a growing problem in Africa. Alongside South Africa, in Nigeria and Kenya, Kaspersky blocked more than 30,000 mobile malware attacks combined between January and June 2021. These attacks targeted mobile devices and were designed to steal personal and financial information. The Kenya Communication Authority’s 2022-23 Cyber Security report recorded over two million cyber threats. These threats included phishing, malware, and denial-of-service attacks. The impact of ransomware attacks on businesses can be devastating. Not only do they result in the loss of critical data, but they also disrupt day-to-day operations, leading to financial losses and reputational damage.

It’s crucial to stay one step ahead and fortify your business against ransomware attacks with solid cybersecurity measures. That means staying on top of software updates and system patches to close any potential holes that attackers might exploit. Plus, beefing up your network security with firewalls, antivirus software, and intrusion detection systems will give your business an extra layer of protection.


Here are extra steps your organisation can take to stay protected from ransomware attacks:

  • Train your employees to identify and prevent ransomware attacks.
  • Regularly back up your data for added protection.
  • Collaborate with cybersecurity professionals.
  • Staying informed about the latest ransomware threats.


What to do when you fall victim to a ransomware attack?

  1. Isolate those infected systems: When you spot a ransomware attack, the first move is to separate the affected systems from the network ASAP. That way, you can stop the malware from spreading any further.
  2. Notify appropriate authorities. Reporting the attack to the relevant authorities, such as The South African Police Service (SAPS) or The Computer Incident Response Team South Africa (CIRT SA), can aid in tracking the attackers and potentially preventing future attacks.
  3. Restore from backups: If you’ve got backups, use them. Restore the affected systems from trustworthy offline backups. That way, you can minimise any downtime and loss of data.
  4. Increase your security: Learn from the attack and beef up your defences. Boost employee training, update your security software, and make it a habit to regularly check for vulnerabilities.

By using Dotcloud’s cloud platform and security services, businesses can help to protect themselves from ransomware attacks and minimise the damage if an attack does occur. Dotcloud has a team of experienced security professionals who can help you to assess your risk of ransomware attacks and implement the necessary security measures. Our cloud platform is designed to be secure and reliable, and it offers several features that can help to protect businesses from ransomware attacks. Affordability is our prime offering, so you can get the support you need without breaking the bank.

If you are looking for a way to protect your business from ransomware, then Dotcloud is a good option to consider. With Dotcloud’s help, you can keep your data safe and secure.


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