Sub-Saharan Africa's smartphone penetration at 33%

Surge in SSA
smartphone use

Figures expected to
double by 2025.

Friday, Oct 19th

IT security skills increasingly sought-after

IT security skills increasingly sought-after

The availability of relevant skills is the main obstacle for businesses when it comes to protecting themselves against ever-increasing threats. Business defenders are forced to try to keep up with attackers and adopt a multi-layered approach to IT security systems that are technically on par with the modus operandi of cyber criminals in what ESET Senior Malware Researcher Robert Lipovsky describes as "an unequal battle".

Lipovsky works in ESET' Security Research laboratory in Bratislava, Slovakia and was invited to speak at the company's Security Day in held recently in Johannesburg.

He spoke with ITWeb Africa ahead of the event and said the main message to the market is to avoid 'keeping all eggs in one basket' and use multi-layered technology to cover all bases.

The market has moved past the days of simply using anti-virus to protect resources. "It is an unequal battle. As defenders we have to secure all the possible vectors that the attacker can get in the organisation, whereas the attacker simply has to find one single point of entry they want... that is why we need to have these multiple layers to try to stop an attack or infiltration."

"One-layer today is simply not enough. Even the most advanced algorithms have their limits and can be fooled. Therefore, you need other technologies, to add more layers and make the attack more costly for the black-hat. The costlier – the less probable (albeit not impossible)," he added.

Lipovsky agrees that the availability of skills is an issue. He says that in today's market, these skills are necessary to ensure that companies are able to extract benefit from cyber security solutions and also with regard to company-wide basic security awareness for all employees.

"It's a difficult vulnerability to patch... that is why it is the number one method that attackers use to get into corporate networks," he adds.

It is a market in which many threats, including phising and ransomware, are linked to human behavior.

The company detects on average 300,000 unique malware samples daily.

In his presentation Lipovsky referenced Operation Windigo and the infection of 25,000 servers (as well as botnet and 35,000,000 spam messages a day), resulting in ESET's "largest, most complex investigation" in 2013.

He also described 2017 as the year of ransomware, with two major outbreaks: WannaCryptor and NotPetya.

One of the attackers, Maxim Senakh was arrested, said Lipovsky. "The main thing is – bringing cybercriminals to justice is really hard and takes time. But it can be done."

Today, while the key focus is on acquiring the right skill sets and outsource to skilled service providers, business owners can also leverage DNA detections and threat intelligence to strengthen protection.

"By offering information gathered from more than 100 million sensors, this service provides organisations with better overview of the threat landscape, helps them to predict and prevent attacks before they happen and offers those data for a more effective and efficient incident diagnosis in post-attack phase. This unique knowledge strengthens not just the security of the business itself but can be used to protect their end-users as well," Lipovsky added.

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