May 05, 2021

Virgin Active targeted in advanced cyber attack

One of South Africa’s biggest gym franchises, Virgin Active, was recently targeted in a sophisticated cyber attack. The company posted an announcement on its website informing gym members that its network had been attacked.

“Virgin Active South Africa became aware of a cyberattack yesterday and our security teams immediately started working with cybersecurity experts to carefully contain, manage and investigate the cyber event,” the notice reads.

As a result, Virgin Active took all of its systems offline while they resolved the issues and assessed the extent of the breach. They did not divulge what type of cyber attack took place, but they are sure that no client information was taken.

Extent of breach is unclear

“There is currently no indication that any data has been removed from our systems. However, we urge all stakeholders to remain vigilant of any suspicious activity online,” reads the company statement.

“The security of our systems and data is a top priority for us and we are doing everything we can to rectify the situation. We will provide any necessary further updates as soon as we are able to do so,” says Virgin Active South Africa.

Importance of IT security in Africa

Many businesses may think that they are safe from cyber attacks, hackers and ransomware - especially in Africa. However, this breach of security serves as a stern warning for large corporations in South Africa that they too can be subject to online threats. Such a breach has a greater impact on a business than just leaked information.

At the time of writing, the Virgin Active website was still offline after a number of days. This has a great effect on business partners and customers seeking information. The company’s trustworthiness takes a hit and, with the website and internal systems offline for a week or more, agreements with partner organisations can be broken, which damages a company’s reputation.

If customers do not trust a company to secure their personal information, a business will suffer brand and reputation damage. This is why online security systems are absolutely vital for large businesses in Africa - especially those that hold the personal information of their customers.

SEACOM Business security solutions

SEACOM Business offers several IT security solutions to large enterprises in South Africa and abroad. We have partnered with leading local and international security providers to ensure that our corporate clients get the best in full end-to-end cyber security.

These solutions include hosted security, endpoint protection and enhanced email services that provide advanced anti-malware, firewall protection and automatic threat detection. Although Virgin Active South Africa had passed all of its security audits, this breach still took place.

This highlights that cyber security is not a simple concept - it cannot be set up and left to run indefinitely. It needs constant monitoring and review to ensure that it is always up-to-date and able to withstand the latest threats.

Using a security partner, such as SEACOM Business, is the best way to ensure dynamic protection of online systems. We are able to monitor your networks and IT systems to ensure that the security protocols remain up-to-date. This leaves your business free to focus on other important tasks.

With our security solutions, businesses can rest assured that their networks and computers will be protected against targeted attacks and hackers from both external and internal sources. For more information or to get a quote for these services, please contact SEACOM Business today.

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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