Cyber security in times of the Coronavirus

Cyber security in times of the Coronavirus

As South Africa prepares to enter a nationwide lockdown for 21 days with effect from midnight tonight, restrictions announced by President Ramaphosa to curb the spread of Covid-19 have resulted in workforces implementing measures to work remotely. With the increased reliance on technology, companies may be faced with cybersecurity challenges including cyber-attacks and cyber-related fraud.

According to the latest annual Cost of a Data Breach Report, conducted by the Ponemon Institute, the average cost of a data breach in South Africa is approximately R43,3 million. As a result, flexible and remote working arrangements may pose a substantial and costly risk to employers from a cyber-security perspective.

In a recent article Fatima Ameer-Mia, Director at Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr’s Technology, Media & Telecommunications practice and Krevania Pillay associate at Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr’s Dispute Resolution practice, discuss this phenomenon.

Ameer-Mia and Pillay share that it is imperative for business to review and adopt an information security policy which employees must adhere to. “Employees should be encouraged not to connect to unsecure or public WIFI and utilise, where applicable, VPNs to protect their company’s proprietary information. Common sense should also prevail. Employees should check URL’s before clicking on any links and be wary of suspicious emails. With an increased use of video conferencing services, employees should also ensure that meeting requests are legitimate and refrain from taking ‘shortcuts’, such as sending documents to colleagues via unsecured instant messaging services, discussing confidential work matters on public chat platforms, saving documents to their desktop instead of on secure locations and using unencrypted personal devices for work matters.”