December 11, 2023

Retailers report 75% increase in ransomware attacks

There has been a general increase in ransomware attacks and cyber crime against retailers in South Africa. This tends to spike even more throughout the holiday season, so it’s critical for shops to safeguard their IT systems in order to preserve sensitive data and maintain customer trust.

According to the Sophos State of Ransomware in Retail report, local retailers reported a 75% increase in ransomware attacks last year. More than three-quarters of retailers have been targeted by a cyber attack in the past two years, with only 28% stating that they successfully prevented data breaches.

The average recovery cost from a ransomware attack in the retail sector is R19 million. South African shops and enterprises need to secure their IT systems ahead of the festive season. SEACOM is a trusted provider of cyber security and ICT services, offering innovative and dependable cyber security solutions to large organisations in South Africa.

The importance of IT security for retailers

The holiday season is perhaps the busiest time of year for retailers. It not only brings joy and celebration, but it also increases the risk of cyber attacks. During this busy season, criminals take advantage of the increasing online transactions and the often overburdened IT systems of shops.

A security breach can have serious consequences for shops, such as financial loss, reputational damage and loss of customer trust. To avoid similar disasters, retailers must prioritise IT security during this particular period.

Retail IT systems sometimes have flaws that expose them to cyber assaults. Some common weaknesses include outdated software, insecure passwords, a lack of personnel training and insufficient network security.

The constantly developing nature of cyber threats and the limited resources available to combat them means that South African retailers confront unique challenges. It is critical for retailers to be aware of these vulnerabilities and to adopt proper mitigation measures.

Best practises for securing IT systems

Retailers should implement the following recommended practises to improve the security of their IT systems:

1) Conduct a thorough security audit - Begin by examining the present state of your IT systems to discover any vulnerabilities or weaknesses that must be fixed.

2) Regularly update your software and firmware - Keeping your software and firmware up to date is critical for lowering the risk of cyber assaults. Important security fixes that can protect your systems from newly found vulnerabilities are frequently included in regular updates.

3) Strong password restrictions and multi-factor authentication - For further security, enforce strong password regulations throughout your organisation and encourage the usage of multi-factor authentication. Passwords should be changed on a regular basis, and you should avoid using default or easily guessable passwords.

4) User awareness training - Educate personnel on the importance of cyber security and provide training on how to recognise and respond to potential threats. They should be aware of common security threats like phishing emails and dubious websites.

5) Monitor potential dangers and respond quickly - Install a reliable monitoring system to detect any unexpected activity in your IT systems. Respond to potential risks as soon as possible to reduce the effect of a security breach.

Securing IT systems is critical for retailers, especially during the holiday season, when cyber attackers are more common. Retailers may protect their sensitive data, financial stability and reputation by taking proactive actions to secure their systems.

As a reputable South African cyber security and ICT services supplier, SEACOM provides a variety of dependable and creative solutions to assist merchants in strengthening the security of their IT systems. Don't allow cyber attacks to ruin your company's festive season. For more information about our cyber security services or to get a quote, email us at or leave us a message.

SEACOM owns Africa’s most extensive network of information and communications technology (ICT) infrastructure, including subsea cables and secure internet connections. We offer a diverse range of flexible, scalable and high-quality solutions for businesses that meet world-class standards for connectivity.

SEACOM is privately owned and operated, making it agile and adaptable to the needs of the customer. This makes us the preferred ICT and internet connectivity partner for African businesses and peripheral service providers. We can guarantee high-speed, low-latency and secure internet connections to corporates and small enterprises.

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