If you thought South Africa was protected from the world of cybercrime by distance, lack of broadband or slim pickings, think again. Not only are companies and individuals regular victims of cybercrime, but South Africa ranks a shocking sixth in the list of countries where attacks originate.
This is according to Craig Rosewarne, founder of the Information Security Group (ISG) Africa, who adds that the country should brace itself for a wave of attacks around the upcoming Soccer World Cup tournament.
Any major sporting event, anywhere in the world, usually triggers an increase in security attacks, he says.
South Africa is also in the firing line because of its increasing access to broadband connectivity, which will make it easier for cybercriminals to targets local users.
The global economic downturn is also playing its part in increasing cybercrime, Rosewarne adds, and people increase their money-seeking activities.
He warns that cybercrime is a very well organised and efficient industry that is geared towards making money, and no-one connected to a network is immune from attack.
"If organisations like NASA and the FBI can be hacked, anyone can," he points out.
It's difficult to quantify the extent of attacks in South Africa because companies aren't obliged to report breaches, but Rosewarne says it's significant.
"It is estimated that up to R50-million was lost by South African banks in 2009, most of this by phishing attacks. And this is probably just the tip of the iceberg."
Rosewarne points out that South African's are not just open to cybercrime – a shocking number of attacks are actually originating from here.
On an FBI list of cybercrime perpetrators, compiled from 275 000 complaints, South Africa features sixth.