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Digital Resilience Against Cybercrime

By Waseem Rhoda, 27 January 2021

South Africa has the third most cybercrime victims worldwide, losing R2.2 billion a year.

Data fraud and theft have been ranked by the World Economic Forum as the number four global risk over a ten-year horizon with cyberattacks taking a number five.

Waseem Rhoda, Information Security Officer at Sanlam, says consumers need to be aware of the latest cybercrime trends to safeguard themselves from becoming a victim. “Phishing, impersonation scams, fraudulent sites, malware attacks and social engineering are among the most common tools used by scammers,” notes Rhoda.

Watch out for unsolicited emails, texts, or calls offering a free item or letting you know there is a problem with a delivery, he explains. Clicking on a link to verify or provide information could expose you to identity theft or allow malware onto your computer or mobile device. Rhoda suggests that if you are in doubt, always check the email sender details and hover over the links to ensure they lead to trusted websites.

Avoid Falling Victim to Cybercrime

Rhoda shares seven measures consumers can implement to avoid falling victim to cybercrime:

  1. Use strong passwords: Maintain different password and username combinations for each account and resist the temptation to write them down. Weak passwords can be easily cracked using certain attacking methods like brute force attacks, etc.
  2. Be social media savvy: Ensure that your social networking profiles (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc.) are set to private. Be sure to check your security settings and be aware of the information you post online as social media is like a watering hole for predators.
  3. Secure your mobile devices: Many people are not aware that their mobile devices are also vulnerable to malicious software, such as computer viruses and hackers. Be sure to download applications from trusted sources only and keep your operating system up to date.
  4. Protect your identity online: When it comes to protecting your identity online it is better to be overly cautious. Think carefully before giving out personal information such as your name, address, phone number, and/or financial information on the internet.
  5. Look for the lock: Avoid buying anything online using your credit card from a site that doesn’t have SSL (secure sockets layer) encryption installed. Spot secure websites by looking for the locked padlock icon in the address bar and HTTPS instead of just HTTP in the website URL.
  6. Protect your computer with security software: Several types of security software are necessary for basic online security including essentials such as firewalls and antivirus programs.
  7. Parental control: In the era of online technology, parents cannot be too careful when it comes to their children’s online activity. Monitor their activities, regularly checking browser history and email accounts.


South Africans are cautioned to stay up to date regarding cybercrime trends. “You can stay one step ahead of the hacker by educating yourself about the latest scams and hacking trends so that they are easier to spot should you experience it,” concludes Rhoda.

Sanlam Life Insurance is a licensed financial service provider.
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