CSIR Reports Surge in Cybercrimes Pertaining to Work-from-home Culture

  • Richard Marley
  • October 10, 2022
  • 3 minutes read
  • 44

The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has reported that cyberattacks have increased after the work-from-home culture was adopted due to Covid-19. 

Remote employment has led to an upsurge in cybercrimes worldwide, and South Africa isn’t an exception. Despite improvements in existing cybersecurity laws, the country is still at risk of attacks on its commercial interests and national security due to a lack of resources and technical expertise.

As per the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research’s (CSIR) Billy Petzer, a major cause of the rise in cyberattacks during the covid outbreak is that more and more people switched from secure offices and channels to remote working where there’s less protection. 

The main issues facing this country, according to Petzer, include SIM swaps and various identity theft. He stated, “These are all things we need to counter and work against. We are looking at efforts to counter fraudulent SIM swaps that are in the early stages, it is on our radar.”

Petzer mentioned a severe scarcity of cyber security expertise as one of the hurdles facing South Africa. He added: “I think universities need to lower the bar of access for people to become certified in cyber security.  At the moment there aren’t really any formal degrees for cyber security. Usually, people would have to study for a full engineering degree or an IT degree, and then they would have to specialize in cyber security by obtaining additional certifications and experience.  At the moment it takes up to eight to ten years to become a skilled cyber security professional, but at the same time technology and threats are evolving rapidly.”

Looking down the road to the obstacles the country will face, Petzer noted that each generation faced unique difficulties and was inclined to be exposed to various tactics because they saw and used technology in different ways. He noticed: “Millennials and Generation Zs tend to fall for sextortion scams. They are more comfortable sending intimate pictures of themselves. The challenges to be faced by the generation after that, who knows?”

One important rule to abide by is to avoid providing any personal details to anyone on the telephone or via email. Additionally, public Wi-Fi should not be used to access private or financial information, and select apps carefully while keeping an eye on URLs and attachments if one is unsure of their source.

Suggested Read: COVID-19 Has Made Cybercrime More Structured