With the increase in broadband, as well as the upcoming World Cup fast approaching, the question on everyone’s lips is will South Africa take centre stage on the ‘hacker’ world map as well?

Costin Raiu, chief security expert: EEMEA for the Global Research & Analytics Team at Kaspersky Lab, says: “Already we can see evidence of ‘FIFA-related’ spam and this is expected to increase as we near the event. Fraud-related spam advertising false tickets is already on the rise and in fact, several individuals have already been victims of cybercrime ahead of the World Cup – losing a significant amount of money to various scams.”
FIFA also expects more Web sites that illegally use its trademarks*, such as 2010 and World Cup, to appear as the games draw closer and such sites become potential platforms for cybercriminals. Continues Raiu; “Hackers have become very creative in creating fake domains and are using a wide range of threats to hijack computers, steal identities and make money illegally and with such a world-class event on South Africa’s doorstep, cybercrime and related phishing attacks are expected to increase.
According to recent Kaspersky statistics, the amount of spam in email traffic averages 86,1%, with malicious files being found in 1.18% of all emails, an increase of 1.11% compared with previous months. Furthermore, the phishing attacks currently targeting social networking sites look very professional.
“It is almost impossible to spot the forgery in the HTML version of various messages sent to some social networking users,” says Raiu. “It is therefore crucial to become online wise to such attacks and take the necessary measures to ensure a secure Internet experience, because if you are guilty of clicking on such links, consider yourself the weakest link in the security chain."
Some symptoms of an infected computer include:
* Your computer behaves strangely, in a way that you haven’t seen before;
* You see unexpected messages or images;
* You hear unexpected sounds, played at random;
* Programs start unexpectedly;
* Your personal firewall tells you that an application has tried to connect to the Internet (and it’s not a program that you ran);
* Your friends tell you that they have received e-mail messages from your address and you haven’t sent them anything;
* Your computer ‘freezes’ frequently, or programmes start running slowly;
* You get lots of system error messages;
* The operating system will not load when you start your computer;
* You notice that files or folders have been deleted or changed;
* You notice hard disk access (shown by one of the small flashing lights) when you’re not aware of any programs running; or
* Your Web browser behaves erratically, e.g. you can’t close a browser window.
“Cybercrime is here to stay and since many of today’s cyber attacks target human fallibility, it’s essential to find ways to patch these human vulnerabilities just as we strive to secure computing devices. Security education is key and similar to housework – it can’t be seen simply as a one-off task, but needs to be carried out on a regular basis to ensure good results and a clean, safe, environment. Don’t be the weakest link,” says Raiu.