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Malware stings SA users
Fifty seven percent of South African Internet users encountered malicious software during the past year and, in 77% of these cases, the exposure had a negative impact on both users and their devices.
Locally, 14% of users believe their device was infected after visiting a suspicious website, 19% stated they become infected because they used someone else’s USB flash drive, and 8% believe a malicious app disguised as a legitimate program was installed. Yet another 8% of South African’s surveyed said their devices were infected after opening an email attachment. The greater part of those polled -19% – could not explain how malware ended up on their device.
Significantly, four out of five infections caused problems for those affected. Most often (46% of cases) users noticed computer performance slowed down, 43% of respondents experienced obtrusive advertising (e.g. the browser redirected them to unwanted websites) and 32% of those surveyed found unsolicited programmes on their devices.
Overall, (33%) of local user’s experienced financial losses as a result of malware infection. As well as having to pay a ransom to criminals, victims spent money on restoring a device or data, on software to eliminate the effects of an infection, and some even had to buy a replacement device. When financial losses were incurred, the average cost of an attack amounted to R130.
“The costs and unpleasant effects of a malware infection can be avoided with a little prudence,” says Elena Kharchenko, head of Consumer Product Management at Kaspersky Lab. “For instance, do not insert unverified USB sticks in a device, only use official app stores, keep the operating system and applications up to date, and scan files with a security solution before opening them. The ability to foresee potential problems and take precautions is the key to staying safe.”