In this digital age, where easy access to, and transmission of, strategic or personal information is seen as a key value proposition, new threats have emerged that must be addressed. 

This is according to Kris Budnik, director of Security Services Group at Deloitte, speaking at an event hosted by Tip-offs Anonymous.
“The biggest problem is that we instinctively trust our electronic devices and we do not perceive the risks we face because they are not immediately visible or easily understood,” Budnik explains.
“In the next number of years, we are certain to see an increase in cyber crime – where low-risk opportunities are plenty to those with criminal intent. There have already been well publicised instances of hackers breaking into bank accounts, but there are more insidious threats than that.”
One scenario which is likely to become more prevalent is “hijacking” company data. In a case in the US, 30 000 bank client information records – including confidential credit card details – were held to ransom.
The cracker group demanded $100 000.00 for the information in their possession from the bank. Failure to pay the ransom would cause the credit information to be published on the Internet, resulting in potential losses of millions of dollars and vast reputational risk.
This would also translate into extremely unhappy clients receiving details of transactions on their cards from online shops completely unknown to them.
Another person received a cell phone account for R15 000.00 and claimed that the service provider had made a mistake. On investigation, the service provider determined that the calls had been made from the person’s phone and that the client was responsible for the account.
The phone had been infected by malicious code that gave a cracker the opportunity to use the phone to make calls and surf the Internet when the phone was in their vicinity.
Budnik says: “Our modern environment, where wireless networks, multiple access paths and a multitude of electronic devices used for storage, access to and transmission of data is extremely vulnerable.
“We advise our clients to exercise caution but acknowledge that the new wave of communication (anytime and from anywhere) and the blurring of the lines between corporate and personal computing capabilities are unstoppable.
“While this simplifies our lives and benefits business, it has brought with it substantial risk of which we are largely ignorant”.
Budnick says some of the basic things that we can all do to protect ourselves and our vital information include:
* Taking personal responsibility and time to educate ourselves on the steps needed to adequately protect our information;
* Realising that today’s personal communication devices are more than just cell phones – we need to take the time to read the manuals and understand the features of these devices (and the risks they represent);
* Not getting caught up in the “feature” trap – if you don’t need it, don’t buy it/use it/switch it on;
* Being aware of our surroundings and learning to spot insecure behaviour – password sharing, forwarding of chain-letters and junk mail, not logging-off when stepping away from our workstations, not taking notice of “shoulder surfers” at ATMs, airports, and offices;
* Learning how to spot dangerous “neighbourhoods” when Internet surfing – looking out for unwelcome pop-ups, unreasonable questions and dialogues, strange content and other givaways; and
* Keeping anti-virus software up to date and enabled.