In January and February, almost 1% of connected South Africans were the targets of malicious programs targeting users’ bank accounts and the projections for the remainder of the year could be massive, warns cybersecurity multinational Kaspersky Global Research and Analysis Team senior security researcher Maher Yamout.
Kaspersky's statistics show the cases of downloading malicious programs targeting users’ bank accounts have become more frequent this year.
These mobile banking Trojans are some of the most rapidly developing, flexible and dangerous types of malware, he adds.
Further, 34% of South African computers rely on an outdated or unsupported version of Microsoft Windows operating system and may be at higher risk of infection without users' knowledge. This reality is a cause for concern, he emphasises.
"Security updates – meant to find and close potential gaps before threat actors find and exploit them – are especially important when it comes to the operating system, which is the heart of devices such as laptops, smartphones and tablets. It ensures that the system performs well and provides the means for people to live in a connected way in this digital era. If this ‘heart’ is outdated or unsupported, it is not only the user experience that will suffer, but there is significant risk that sensitive information could become compromised."
An unsupported or outdated operating system will contain vulnerabilities that have not been patched. As such, malicious users can target these weak points to gain access to the system and all its data.
Additionally, if this computer is on a network, the entire environment is potentially at risk.
“It does not matter if an organisation has the best cybersecurity solutions available; if there is even one device running an outdated operating system, then the whole company is compromised. Our research shows that in South Africa, 5% of the unsupported operating system market consists of people still using Windows XP, which had its end of life in 2014, while Windows 7, which was a popular choice for consumers and businesses, saw its extended support come to an end in January,” warns Yamout.