Android malware balloons in SA

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Android malware encounters ballooned in SA over the past year.

This is according to Cisco's 2013 Annual Security Report (ASR), which states that malware grew 2 577% in 2012, and that mobile malware represents only 0.5% of total Web malware encounters.

Cisco notes that Android malware entered the mainstream consciousness in 2012, and that the highest concentration of online security threats come from legitimate destinations visited by mass audiences, such as major search engines, retail sites and social media platforms.

BYOD complexity

The networking company also notes that the trend towards bring your own device (BYOD) is increasingly affecting IT departments, but is adding complexity when it comes to security and IT support. The challenge South African organisations face with BYOD is introducing and managing a solid security strategy, the report adds.

The study found that 30% of South African respondents said there is no policy on the use of company issued computers, tablets or smartphones in their organisations. Of those in SA who indicated their companies have a policy on personal usage of company issued devices, only half indicated that they adhere to the policy most of the time.

Less than 20% of South African respondents adhere to their companies' IT policies all the time, while 21% use company issued devices for other activities, despite being instructed not to do so.

Security risks in businesses are also on the rise because many employees adopt "my way" work lifestyles, in which their devices, work and online behaviour mix with their personal lives virtually anywhere, says Cisco.

Nine to five spam

Spam volume dropped 18% from 2012 to 2013, with spammers working "banker's hours", contributing to a 25% drop in spam sent over the weekends, the company says.

In 2012, the majority of spam was sent during the work week - Tuesday was the heaviest spam day. The top spoofed brands involve prescription drugs and luxury watches like Rolex and Omega.

According to the report, spammers maximise the ROI of their efforts, targeting real-world events with specific and short-lived campaigns. Looking ahead, says Cisco, the Internet of everything represents the largest online trend today. As more people and devices connect to the Internet, more data will be introduced across corporate and service provider networks, which opens up new vulnerabilities and a need for more sophisticated security approaches.

"Each year, the security threats and defences change as a result of one another," says Den Sullivan, head of architectures and enterprise, Cisco Emerging Theatre. "The Cisco Annual Security Report is our expert research, highlighting global threat patterns and trends. Today, we live a blended work-personal life. With more and more devices, the number of endpoints for network security proliferates quickly.

"When 'everything' is connected, in fact before this - when the acceleration starts - IT organisations in South Africa will need to be ready for security scalability," he concludes.

"There are many technologies available to secure today's networks, and now is the time for South African CIOs to make sure their security is robust, as more and more devices connect to their networks. It is important to consider security from the ground up and to build it into the network's intelligence, using the most suitable security standards and protocols."

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