symantec threat reportThreats to online security have grown considerably, increasing by 42% in 2012 according to Symantec. Reshana Pillay, Director at Routledge Modise, is of the view that with the POPI (Protection of Personal Information) Act on the horizon, liability will undoubtedly flow from the current cyber onslaught and companies and businesses best prepare for any attack against their databases to obtain customers personal information – one of the most valuable marketing assets of a business.

Symantec conducted research that indicates that 50% of mobile malware created in 2012 attempted to steal consumers’ information.


The top causes of data breaches according to Symantec in 2012 were: Hackers at 40%; information accidentally made public at 23%; followed by theft or loss of a computer also at 23% and insider theft at 8%. The research indicates that the top five targeted industries in 2012 were the following: Manufacturing at 24%; followed by the finance, insurance and real-estate industries at 19%; non-traditional services coming in at 17%, government at 12% and, lastly, the energy and utilities industries at 10% of the total attacks.

The conclusion that can be drawn from this is that frontline attacks are moving down the supply chain, particularly for small to medium sized businesses. Threats are not always from an outside source, but can be internal as well.

The POPI Act aims to give effect to the constitutional right to privacy by safeguarding a person’s personal information when processed by public and private bodies in a manner that balances that right with any other rights. This piece of legislation will also prescribe how personal information about individuals and juristic persons is to be stored, updated and destroyed, provided that the consumer consented to the processing of their information to start off with.

Cyber liability policies also provide coverage for liability claims for spreading a virus or malicious code, computer theft, extortion, or any unintentional act, mistake, error, or omission made by your employees while performing their job.


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