Interview with: Paul van de Haar Manager at KPMG

MAY 30, 2016

Cyber security is an important concern for every business and individual. Cyber criminals including hackers, activists and organised criminals are attacking governments, businesses and individuals with an increasing volume and severity.

KPMG have recently moved cyber security to the heart of its business, listing cyber security as one of its six strategic growth initiatives. In addition to this, KPMG was named a Leader in the Forrester Research Inc. report, The Forrester Wave: Information Security Consulting Services, Q1 2016 achieving the highest score for their current cyber security offering and strategy.

Business Link (BL) magazine chatted to Paul van de Haar (PH) at KPMG, about this growing business threat.

BL: We understand South Africa is the top cybercrime target in Africa. Who is being targeted by these criminals?

PH: South Africa is one of the most targeted countries in the world when it comes to cybercrime. These cybercrimes are targeting businesses and individuals.

BL: Why is South Africa leading the pack as a target?

PH: There is a low maturity of cyber security awareness in South Africa. In addition to this, South Africa does not allocate enough resources to fighting cybercrime. Therefore, there is a shortage of cyber security skills making the country an easy target.

BL: What are the most common techniques that these criminals use to swindle their victims?

PH: There are a number of techniques that these cyber criminals use to commit cybercrimes. People are commonly seen as being the weakest link due to us often being an "easy" target. Because of this, cyber criminals are using mechanisms such as phishing attacks, and social engineering attacks to lure us into a situation where our personal information is compromised. The cyber criminals then use this information to gain access to confidential information, email accounts, corporate IT systems, bank accounts, etc.

BL: Where do most of these attacks come from?

PH: It is difficult to track where cybercrimes originate from, because the Internet makes it easy for the criminals to do things anonymously from any location around the world.

BL: What can a business do to protect itself?

PH: Prevention will always be seen as the best line of defence against cybercrime. Like any other criminal activity, those most vulnerable tend to be targeted first. The current trend is on the early detection and response to cybercrime. It is recommended that businesses, be it small or large, consult with IT security experts to assist them in assessing their specific cyber security needs and vulnerabilities.

If you are unsure whether your business is safe from cybercrime, you are welcome to contact me on 081 841 9143 or email [email protected] today.