Malicious URLs on the rise in South Africa

The number of unique malicious URLs detected in South Africa for the second quarter of 2021 rose to 6.8 million from the 5.7 million found in the previous quarter an increase of 19%.

On the bright side, the number of web threats blocked in South Africa decreased to 15.4 million from 17.3 million detected during the same period.

These are two of the conclusions of the evolution of the Kaspersky threat report, which indicates that around the world, nearly 1.7 billion web threats were blocked during the same period, an increase of 87% from the previous year.

The report is based on threats that have been detected or prevented by the company’s anti-malware solutions. This also revealed that the company considered more than 674 million unique URLs to be malicious, a significant jump from 286 million the previous year.

According to Bethwel Opil, head of corporate sales at Kaspersky in Africa, the threat landscape is changing as more sophisticated technologies become available.

“The significant increase in malicious URLs in South Africa also indicates how popular phishing and associated malware have grown with threat actors who target people working outside the relative security of the office network.” , he adds.

Web threats cover a wide range of attacks, including phishing and malware. However, other threats like offline data theft can also be considered to be part of this group.

In fact, over 30 million web threats were detected in South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria between April and June of this year. Financial threats have become of concern around the world, with at least one banking malware stranded on the computers of 119,252 unique users in the second quarter of 2021.

Although SA only represents 0.4% of the global financial threat risk, local users should be aware of how these attacks have become increasingly targeted. For example, bad actors use social engineering and other tactics to develop more personalized attacks against rulers and government officials.

On the mobile side, globally and over the same period, 14,465,672 malware, adware and risky software attacks were averted, and the security giant found that the largest share of all threats detected concerned RiskTool programs, 38.48%.

A RiskTool is a program with various functions, including hiding files in the system, hiding windows of running applications, or stopping active processes. This group includes cryptocurrency miners who generate coins using the resources of the target device.

Opil says, “Of course there are a variety of web security threats out there. They usually include human and technical manipulation to attack. Some of the most common web threats include social engineering, malicious code, exploits, and cybercrime.

The main tool behind browser-based infections is the Exploit Pack – which gives attackers a way to infect machines that don’t have a security solution installed or that have a fluent operating system or application. used which is vulnerable because the user has not applied the latest updates.

To reduce the risk of web threats, users should create backups of their data and enable multi-factor authentication to introduce additional layers of user authentication in addition to traditional passwords.

In addition, regular scans for infections should be performed and tools, software and operating systems should be kept up to date, Opil concludes.

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