by MTHULISI SIBANDA
JOHANNESBURG, (CAJ News) – THE load shedding scourge battering South Africa is exposing the public, particularly remote workers, to cyber security risks.
The exposure comes as the power cuts force these employees to seek power from a multitude of sources.
These include malls and coffee shops where the individuals alternate between mobile phones, tablets and laptops across any number of potentially unsecured public Wi-Fi hotspots.
This mobility increases the cyber security risks presented by all these devices that are often poorly secured.
The exposure is during the work-from-anywhere (WFA) model, a result of Eskom’s power rationing.
These are the observations of Doros Hadjizenonos, Southern Africa regional director at Fortinet, the cyber security company.
He noted smartphones, in particular, had become a critical part of the remote workforce toolkit.
“They are such an integral part of each person’s daily routine, people may regard them as trusted and safe,” the executive said.
“As a channel to your personal data, banking and accounts, and a link to your work and business data, smartphones drive cyber criminals directly to your pocket,” Hadjizenonos said.
He warned that as such, smartphones might become the next big vector to hijack and weaponize in distributing attacks.
He said mobile cybersecurity threats mostly align with the common threats, including phishing and malware but they can also include mobile-specific issues such as application-based threats and device and operating system-based exploits.
Verizon’s Mobile Security Index 2021 found that while 71 percent of enterprises see mobile devices as critical to their business, 40 percent also see them as their company’s biggest security risk.
Some 53 percent said the consequences they faced as a result of a mobile device-related security compromise were major.
Moreover, the survey found that 93 percent of Android devices were running an out-of-date version of the OS, and 49 percent of workers allowed their family or friends to use their work devices.
Hadjizenonos said as an endpoint in the corporate network, the mobile device needs to be secured with strong PINs, passwords and biometric logins such as facial recognition and fingerprint scanners.
South Africa is experiencing its worst power outages in years.
Load shedding is now a daily phenomenon, with no end in sight to the blackouts.
– CAJ News