Do You Know Your Malware from Your Spyware?

When you hear the words malware, adware and spyware, do you understand their meaning? Is a Trojan horse something you associate with Greek history or the modern-day world?
These are all potential threats and unfortunately for us, they are only getting more advanced. Fear not – look at the definitions below and learn a bit more about the meaning of these threats:
• Malware – A buzz word for intrusive software, including computer viruses, Trojan horses and adware.
• Adware – Software that automatically downloads or displays advertising banners or pop ups when you are online.
• Spyware – Software that enables you to obtain information about another computer’s activities by transmitting data using their hard drive.
• Viruses – Small programs or scripts that can negatively affect the health of your computer. These malicious programs can create files, move files, erase files, consume your computer’s memory and cause your computer not to function correctly.
• Worms – A type of virus that replicates itself, but does not alter any files on your machine. However, worms can still create chaos by multiplying so many times that they take up all your computer’s available memory or hard disk space. If a worm consumes your memory, your computer will run very slowly and possibly even crash.
• Trojan Horses –Software programs that look like regular programs, such as games and even antivirus programs. Once they are run, these programs can do malicious things to your computer.

Here are some useful tips to help you and your staff stay safe:

• Have up to date antivirus software installed on your systems. Without this, you could be in trouble.
• Install security patches. Patching helps to protect your devices and has become extremely important as part of the updating process.
• Be careful with any software you install. Contact your IT provider if you are unsure.
• Delete any unknown emails. Never download or open attachments unless you are sure it’s from someone you know. If you receive emails from random people, do not open them.
• Avoid clicking on ads. Especially ads where something is bright and colourful, with the possibility that you can win a prize! Ads have become more sophisticated and interactive so that you’ll be tempted to play it like a game

If you have any questions about your IT Security contact RMD Technology’s
helpful team on +27 11 026 3115 or email us on support@rmdtechnology.co.za if you would like any advice on your current IT. We are always happy to help!

Is the SA government taking the necessary steps to protect our Cyberspace?

As the world’s largest Crime Zone the need for South Africa to implement cyber security measures and legislation has become ever more apparent.

According to industry experts, unlike various international destinations, South Africa and other such developing nations have limited to non-existent cyber security laws, and that of course presents various problems. Access to the Internet is essential to the development of the country, but the ease of access and how much danger it poses to security doesn’t go unnoticed. As cyber crime increases daily, it is obvious that SA and similar countries need to develop and implement comprehensive cyber security laws.

According to Lexology, a company that collaborates with the world’s leading lawyers; South African cyber security is regulated by means of the Electronic Communications & Transactions Act, No 25 of 2002 (ECTA). As the Internet is considered a world-wide phenomenon that is unfortunately riddled with cyber crime, many steps have been initiated by the SA government to ensure cyber security is taken seriously.

The National Cyber Security Policy Framework

Published and approved by the Cabinet in 2012, this policy details SA’s strategy in terms of:

  • Cyber crime
  • National security threats online
  • Overcoming cyber warfare
  • Updating and implementing of applicable laws to ensure ultimate cyber security

Other laws, legislation, councils and legal documents that dictate cyber law in South Africa include:

  • National Cyber Security Advisory Council – advising government authorities on cyber related security concerns.
  • ICT Policy Green Paper – this paper identified cyber crime threats and issues needing to be addressed with laws and policies.
  • Protection of Personal Information Act, No 4 of 2013 – this particular act is soon to be affected in SA. It is designed to step up data security standards by implementing laws regarding the processing of personal information and by ensuring that data processors work with these laws in mind to safeguard against a data breach.

In an attempt to address the spans of criminal activities that are experienced every day online, the Draft Cybercrimes and Cyber Security Bill was set in place in 2015 for comment. This particular bill criminalises the following cyber crimes:

  • The use of another individual’s personal information to commit an offense.
  • Gaining illegal access to data.
  • Having or distributing malware, viruses, worms and similar.
  • Online fraud where non-existent goods are sold.
  • Manipulation of documents for the intent of forgery.
  • Sending phishing emails or being involved in phishing activities
  • Using a computer system, hardware or software to commit a criminal offense.
  • Money laundering.
  • Illegal computerised appropriation of ownership or rights.
  • Digital / computerised extortion.
  • Digital terrorist activity as well as the recruitment of terrorist members, or providing information on how to create terrorist weapons or carry out attacks.
  • Hacking, social engineering and the use of software and hardware to carry out computer related espionage.
  • Data messages that encourage hatred, violence or discrimination. This includes media posts against specific religions, ethnicities, genders, sexual orientations and so forth.
  • Copyright infringements including peer-to-peer file sharing which can infringe on various copyrights.

A brief look at a summary of the Bill illustrates just how active the cybercrime world really is. If and when the Bill is implemented, offenders will be faced with fines of between R5 million and R10 million. Alternatively, a prison sentence of 25 years can be expected.

At RMD Technology we understand the importance of the implementation of this Bill and the awareness it creates around cybercrime. We would love to know what your thoughts on cyber security in SA are – please share them with us!