An increased risk of cybercrime due to remote work, the continued skills gap in the local cybersecurity industry, and the most significant cybersecurity risks for 2022 were three of the most popular topics reported on by local media, according to Novus Group’s Cybersecurity Analysis Report.

The report covered the period from 1 April to 20 May 2022.

Coverage was driven by the World Wide Worx “The State of Cybersecurity in South Africa” report. In addition to highlighting the dangers remote work had on corporate networks if not adequately protected, the study revealed concerns around overbudgeting on cybersecurity spending and the fact that only 40% of large businesses use multiple solutions to protect, back up, and replicate their data in the event of a disaster. This suggested the urgent need to introduce more effective disaster recovery solutions. Fortunately, 99% of respondents had not yet experienced cyberattacks that resulted in financial loss.

The second spike in coverage was the result of the publication of the KnowBe4 Cyber Security Skills Pipeline survey. According to the survey, there is a massive skills gap in the local and African cybersecurity sectors. The most significant challenges for corporates in the period under review were finding qualified candidates that not only had right aptitude, but also a suitable level of experience.

Another major coverage trend was how publications focused on identifying the biggest cybersecurity risks for the year. These include ransomware attacks, supply chain attacks, remote working risks, cloud service attacks, and mobile device risks. The media also paid attention to the increasing sophistication of hackers who are relying on more advanced technologies to compromise systems. Some of the coverage examined how ransomware incidents in Europe were likely to stabilise this year while expected to continue growing in other EMEA regions, most notably in Africa and the Middle East.

More recently, local publications focused on driving awareness of the role of insurance when it comes to cybersecurity. By volume, cybersecurity as a general topic dominated with 75% of coverage. However, cyber protection (11%) and cyberattacks (9%) were also influential.

Unpacking this, publications highlighted some of the techniques organisations and consumers should practice if they are to improve their cybersecurity stance. While topics like cyber resilience, cyber protection, and cybersecurity had generally positive tones in the local media, ransomware and cyberattacks drew negative coverage.

“Despite the sensitive subject matter, many publications focused on how businesses are moving to actively improve their cybersecurity in South Africa. Tips and tricks, and other recommendations were quite prominent in the media as the coverage environment was focused on positive messaging,” says Novus Group director Joe Hamman.