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South Africa Moves into Top-Five Geographies Globally for Malicious Emails

Symantec.cloud Intelligence Report: Daily targeted attacks increase four-fold since January.

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Symantec Corp. today announced the results of the November 2011 Symantec.cloud Intelligence Report which saw South Africa move into the top five geographies globally for virus rate which this month jumped to 1 in 222,5 emails blocked as malicious. The survey also saw South Africa maintain top position as the most targeted geography for phishing with 1 in 96,2 emails identified as phishing.

This month’s analysis also reveals that the global number of daily targeted attacks has increased four-fold compared to January this year. On average 94 targeted attacks were blocked each day during the month of November.

“The aim of these targeted attacks is to establish persistent access to the targeted organisation’s network, in many cases with the aim of providing remote access to confidential data. They have the potential to cause serious damage to an organisation and in the long term represent a significant threat against the economic prosperity of many countries,” said Mark Smissen, business development manager, Symantec.cloud.

“Targeted attacks are designed to gather intelligence, steal confidential information or trade secrets, and disrupt operations or even destroy critical infrastructure.”

The public sector has been identified as the most frequently targeted industry during 2011, with approximately 20,5 targeted attacks blocked each day. The chemical and pharmaceutical industry was second highest ranked, with 18,6 blocked each day. In this latter case, many of these attacks surfaced later in the year. Similarly, this is also the case for the manufacturing sector, which was placed third most-targeted with approximately 13,6 attacks blocked each day.

“It is important to remember that without strong social engineering, or ‘head-hacking,’ even the most technically sophisticated attacks are unlikely to succeed. Many attacks include elements of social engineering and are based on information we make available ourselves through social networking and social media sites. Once the attackers are able to understand our interests or hobbies, with whom we socialise and who else may be in our networks; they are often able to construct more believable and convincing attacks against us,” Smissen said.

While targeted attacks are on the increase, the global spam rate has now reached its lowest level in three years. The effect of spam volumes three years ago was very dramatic and spam accounted for 68,0% of global emails. Recently the decline has been much slower, but spammers have also adapted to using more targeted approaches and exploiting social media as alternatives to email. Pharmaceutical spam is now at the lowest it has been since we started tracking it, accounting for 32,5 % of spam, compared with 64,2% at the end of 2010.

November 2011 highlights:

Spam: The global ratio of spam in email traffic fell by 3,7 percentage points since October to 70,5 percent (1 in 1,42 emails).

70,1 percent of email traffic in South Africa was spam.

Phishing: The global phishing rate increased by 0,04 percentage points, taking the average to one in 302,0 emails (0,33 percent) that comprised some form of phishing attack.

Globally, South Africa stays in the top position with one in 96,2 emails identified as phishing.

Email-borne Threats: The global ratio of email-borne viruses in email traffic was one in 255.8 emails (0,39 percent), a decrease of 0,03 percentage points since October 2011. Further analysis also shows that 40,2 percent of email-borne malware contained links to malicious Web sites, an increase of 20,1 percentage points since October 2011.

November saw South Africa jump to the top five list with one in 222,5 emails blocked as malicious.

Geographical Trends:

Spam

  • In the US, 69,9 percent of email was spam and 69,5 percent in Canada.
  • The spam level in the UK was 69,5 percent.
  • In The Netherlands, spam accounted for 70,5 percent of email traffic, 70,1 percent in Germany, 70,4 percent in Denmark.
  • In Australia 68,6 percent of email was blocked as spam, 69,2 percent in Hong Kong and 68,0 percent in Singapore, compared with 66,6 percent in Japan.
  • Spam accounted for 70,1 percent of email traffic in South Africa and 74,3 percent in Brazil.

Phishing

  • South Africa once again became the country most targeted for phishing attacks, with one in 96,2 emails identified as phishing.
  • The UK was the second most targeted country, with one in 167,0 emails identified as phishing attacks.
  • Phishing levels for the US were one in 461,8 and one in 242,4 for Canada.
  • In Germany phishing levels were one in 426,2, one in 781,5 in Denmark and one in 250,4 in The Netherlands.
  • In Australia, phishing activity accounted for one in 361,0 emails and one in 517,0 in Hong Kong; for Japan it was one in 2,058 and one in 609,7 for Singapore.
  • In Brazil one in 775,3 emails was blocked as phishing.

E-mail-borne threats

  • The UK remained at the top of the table with the highest ratio of malicious emails in November, with one in 149,4 emails identified as malicious.
  • Switzerland had the second highest rate, with one in 185,6 emails identified as malicious.
  • In South Africa returned to the top-5 list this month with one in 222,5 emails blocked as malicious.
  • Virus levels for email-borne malware in the US reached one in 360,1 and one in 219,9 in Canada. In Germany virus activity reached one in 275,0, one in 710,5 in Denmark and in The Netherlands one in 238,2.
  • In Australia, one in 326,2 emails was malicious and one in 325,8 in Hong Kong. For Japan the rate was one in 1,147, compared with one in 450,0 in Singapore.
  • In Brazil, one in 570,6 emails in contained malicious content.

The November Symantec Intelligence Report provides greater detail on all of the trends and figures noted above, as well as more detailed geographical and vertical trends.

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AlphaCode Awards R16 Million To Fintech Start-ups In One Of SA’s Richest Start-up Initiatives

This R2 million scale up accelerator offers mentorship, expert guidance and support services to help these more established businesses to scale and create jobs.

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Last night, Rand Merchant Investment Holding (RMI), through AlphaCode, awarded entrepreneurial packages valued at R16 million to eight of South Africa’s most promising financial services start-ups. The entrepreneurial packages consist of R1 million in grant funding and R1 million in support, which includes mentorship, monthly expert-led sessions, exclusive office space in Sandton, marketing, legal and other business support services as well as access to the broader RMI network.

The AlphaCode Incubate initiative, in partnership with Merrill Lynch South Africa and Royal Bafokeng Holdings, identifies South African financial services entrepreneurs with extraordinary ideas and businesses that could impact the financial services industry. More than 200 start-ups applied to participate. Of these, sixteen made it to final pitch evening and eight recipients were selected.

The eight winning businesses are:

Name Description Founders Video link
Akiba Digital A gamified mobile app making it easier and more rewarding to set, manage and meet savings goals. Tebogo Mokwena and Kamogelo Kekana https://bit.ly/2yOjYoX

 

ISpani Group Provides access for insurers into traditionally under insured communities through prepaid vouchers and USSD sold by a network of spaza shop vendors. Prince Nwadeyi, Khathazile Moroe, Patrick Machekera and Louis Buys https://bit.ly/2CrgbkE

 

Jamii De-risks tenant rent default through offering tenants incentive-based discounts on food and transport and bolt-on retrenchment cover. Adrian Taylor, Marc Maasdorp and Bartek Dutkowski https://bit.ly/2ytdc8F

 

Nisa Finance An invoice financing platform that enables financiers to issue invoice-backed loans to SMEs quickly and affordably by fully-automating the application and invoice verification through ERP system integration. Thando Hlongwane, Tekane Ledimo and Sinqobile Mashalaba https://bit.ly/2yptcIW

 

Pago A low cost mobile micro payments platform for the informal sector to enable an inclusive economy by digitising remittances through the use of blockchain technology. Philip Mngadi and Noel Lynch https://bit.ly/2S1QKvn

 

Prospa A mobile savings wallet for low-income earning South Africans that makes it easy to save small amounts infrequently using prepaid vouchers. Dhanyal Davidson and Carl Ngwenya https://bit.ly/2JbwbJf

 

SELFsure Enables millennials to significantly reduce car insurance premiums by self-insuring part of the risk via peer to peer lending. Proud Chitumba, Amos Mugova and Tshepiso Shamane https://bit.ly/2J6HVfV

 

Yalu A self-service credit life insurance platform which replaces a customer’s current policy with a more affordable, simpler and rewarding policy. Nkazi Sokhulu, Tlalane Ntuli, Steve Goeieman and Life Mhlanga https://bit.ly/2PH87QF

 

The programme has disbursed R13 million in funding to 15 black-owned financial services businesses since it began three years ago. “Some have experienced exponential growth and we have been amazed at the level of traction they have received locally and internationally. The intention behind AlphaCode’s Explore, Incubate and Accelerate programmes is for RMI to discover the next OUTsurance or Discovery; we want to identify, partner and grow the future of financial services in South Africa,” says Dominique Collett, head of AlphaCode and a RMI senior investments executive.

During the event, contestants had just three minutes to pitch their businesses, with a couple of minutes set aside for questions from a formidable panel of judges. These included Phuti Mahanyele, CEO of Sigma Capital; Raymond Ndlovu, investment executive, Remgro; Nakedi Ramaphakela, finance director, Royal Bafokeng Holdings; Anthony Knox, MD Investment Banking of Merrill Lynch South Africa and Dominique Collett.

Julie Benadie, regional executive of Operations and Corporate Affairs at Merrill Lynch explained: “We believe in supporting disruptive ideas so that creative fintech solutions will emerge to address the challenges that South Africa faces. We want South Africa to become a fintech centre of excellence with its already advanced financial services infrastructure.”

The AlphaCode Incubate programme deals with common challenges that financial services startups face. All participants are early stage businesses, under two years old and at least 51% owned by black South Africans.

“AlphaCode is also now also seeking additional fintech entrepreneurs for our Explore programme. This offers a 12-month data science and business skills programme for 20 aspirant South African fintech entrepreneurs in conjunction with The Explore Data Science Academy,” Collett added.

Candidates will go through an intensive six-month data science-training programme, where they will learn how to design a 10X business along with the core digital skills needed to build a fintech organisation. This will be followed by three-months of business skills training. Interested fintech entrepreneurs should apply at www.alphacode-explore10x.club by 30 October 2018.”

In addition, AlphaCode recently selected four more established fintech businesses for its Accelerate programme: Entersekt, Livestock Wealth, Click2Sure and Invoice Worx. This R2 million scale up accelerator offers mentorship, expert guidance and support services to help these more established businesses to scale and create jobs.

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The Sky Is The Limit For South Africa’s Top Women Achievers

High-powered women achievers from across the private and public sectors, academia and diplomatic spheres gathered for a charged two-day conference in Johannesburg this week to share experiences about empowerment, achievement and the role that women are destined to play in a competitive global environment.

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Several hundred women attended the 15th Annual Standard Bank Top Women Conference which, with the Top Women Awards, has become one of the premier events for women on the national calendar. The objective of the gathering at the Maslow Hotel on the 17th and 18th of October, was to showcase the achievements of South African women and reignite their passion as they have major roles to play in all arenas of endeavour, says Ethel Nyembe, head of Card Issuing at Standard Bank.

“The delegates to the Top Women Conference were inspired by speakers such as Yvonne Chaka Chaka, singer, songwriter and an entrepreneur in her own right; Phuti Mahanyele, executive chair of Sigma Capital, a black-owned investment group, and political and academic stalwart Geraldine Fraser-Moleketi, now Chancellor of Nelson Mandela University and other women who are playing leading roles in many of the nation’s listed blue-chip corporations.”

“The overall message is that women are playing a central role in growing all facets of our economy and are helping to build a future from which other women can benefit and, in turn, inspire others. Women, regardless of whether they are entertainment icons, professionals engaged in helping shape the minds of future generations, businesswomen or scientists are part of building a new global reality.”

Related: 13 Female Entrepreneurs Rising To The Top In SA

To inspire delegates about the breadth and depth of the future for women, the conference examined all facets of economic life from the impact that IT and scientific research is having on building businesses, through to the development of entrepreneurs and leadership skills. Insights were offered through the contributions of speakers and roundtable panel discussions in which leading women offered observations and advice gathered from their vast experience.

“Standard Bank is proud of the role it has played in enabling women achievers to reach their full potential within its ranks. The bank also recognises that women across society have a broad role to play in the future of South Africa. It is through support for events like the Top Women Awards and the Top Women Conference that this approach is made visible and tangible.”

“We expect this year’s conference deliberations to deliver insights and inspiration that will not only spur established women to new heights of achievement, but also stimulate young women starting new careers,” says Ms Nyembe.

More information on the Top Women Conference can be found at https://topwomen.co.za/ and it can be followed on the #SBTWConference conversation on Facebook and Twitter  

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The Ins And Outs Of A Good Exit Strategy

The thought of parting with a business you’ve grown from the ground up may be unsettling, but Gugu Mjadu, spokesperson for the 2018 Entrepreneur of the Year® competition sponsored by Sanlam and BUSINESS/PARTNERS, says that it is better for both your business and yourself to plan for this as early as possible.

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“The challenge that business owners often face in this respect is comparable to the difficulty that many new parents have with imagining their children grown up and leaving for university. Imagine, however, if parents did not plan ahead for the cost of their education – that would be detrimental to the future of their children. The same could be the case for your business.”

Mjadu says that a good exit strategy is about sustainability and being able to measure your business performance against the goals you have set for it. “It’s really about being able to say, ‘this is when the work is done and I can exit the business or take on a different role – this is what success looks like in terms of monetary return on investment and other business growth indicators’.

“The lack of an exit strategy could be telling of a fundamental lack of measurable business goals and this needs to be addressed,” she says.

From immediate liquidation to liquidation over time; family succession; selling to staff or external investors; the open market or another business; or the gruelling but profitable exercise of taking your company public – there are many different ways in which an entrepreneur can exit their business, but Mjadu says that whatever the process, a strong and solid strategy is essential.

She shares five key points of a good exit strategy:

1. It tells you when you are done

Mjadu says that a good exit strategy should reflect a core understanding of all the intricacies of your business and should be able to tell you when the lifecycle of your business (or of your involvement in the business) should come to an end. This is usually done by including a set of tangible measurables or objectives so that it is easy to ascertain when these have been achieved.

Related: When Do You Know It’s Time To Sell Your Business

2. It sets out the right environment within which to exit

A good exit strategy considers the economic, social and political environment at the time of your exit. Mjadu says that this is important in order to plan for a secure financial future.

“Failure to think about this could result in short-changing yourself by exiting during a tough economic climate when the risk to buyers reduces the value of your business.”

She references the case of Victoria’s Secret when founder, Roy Raymond, sold the failing business for $1m unknowing that it would later grow into the multi-billion dollar empire it is now. “While Raymond’s exit was ultimately necessary for Victoria’s Secret’s growth, he sold it in 1982 during the global recession of the early eighties – one of the world’s biggest financial crises and this influenced the selling price at his exit”.

3. It compensates those who have contributed to the life of your business

It is important to consider the impact your exit could have on investors and staff, says Mjadu. “Closing shop for example, means that your staff no longer have employment at your business. Selling could mean the same.” She adds that it is important to consider ways in which your exit could also benefit these stakeholders – for example, selling to a bigger business could mean more career opportunities for your staff, as well as continued job security.

4. It compensates you

Mjadu says that entrepreneurs often struggle to recognise their own true worth, especially when this involves attaching a monetary value to what has been achieved. “The time of exiting a business is no place to short-change yourself. You need to get out the full worth of what you put in,” she says, explaining that this means ensuring that you are financially secure before and while you go into your next venture.

“Your needs for retirement and medical insurance, as well as the maintenance of your living standard, should be met at your exit.”

Related: Want to Exit the Company? Here’s Your Shareholder Exit Strategy

5. It sustains your entrepreneurial drive

Mjadu says that while you may be nearing the end of one journey, your exit should enable and encourage you to continue to be an entrepreneur – and to look forward to the next journey. “Your entrepreneurial skills and capacity do not end when you exit your business and whatever your strategy, it should egg you on to more entrepreneurial activity including becoming a mentor to aspiring entrepreneurs.”

Mjadu says that exiting your business should allow you a good retrospective look at what you have done over the years – and so planning the strategy early on in your business lifecycle will set you up in regards to what you hope to achieve. “Upon exit, you should be able to say that you have done what you set out to do, financially and socially, and you have some energy left to do more elsewhere.”

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