All is not fair in love and phishing

12 February 2021 - 18:57
By nivashni nair AND Nivashni Nair
Scammers have fleeced women out of millions by reaching out to them on dating apps.
Image: 123RF/ georgejmclittle Scammers have fleeced women out of millions by reaching out to them on dating apps.

Close to 75% of SA employees seeking love online use company issued devices for online dating.

Ahead of Valentine's Day, Mimecast said Covid-19 restrictions may dampen the mood as more people could fall prey to cyber threats.

“Why should organisations care more about Valentine’s Day phishing schemes this year? It's simple. More employees are using corporate-owned devices for personal use and the threat of targeted phishing attacks looms large. The expedited move to the new digital office is adding to these risks and employers must remain ever vigilant this Valentine's Day and throughout the year,” the cybersecurity company said.  

Scam artists often target those seeking love online by pretending to be a love interest and then dupe them into giving them money, passwords, credit details and access to online assets.

Mimecast recently surveyed more than 1,000 employees in various markets across the globe about their “new” work from home habits.

In SA:

  • 74% said they extensively use company-issued devices for personal matters like online dating”
  • 60% of respondents reported an increase in personal usage of company-owned devices this year.
  • 80% of men and 68% of women reported increasing their use of company-owned devices for personal use.
  • 43% of survey respondents are not reporting suspect e-mails to their IT or security departments, leaving organisations at risk for serious breaches.

SA respondents averaged 2.6 hours of personal activity on their work devices every day.

Head of threat intelligence risk and resilience at Mimecast Carl Wearn said for many, the home has become their office, blurring the lines between personal and professional activities like never before.

“This is creating opportunities for cybercriminals to target victims in new ways, and makes regular and effective cybersecurity awareness training all the more important. Empowering employees with the tools and knowledge to identify and avoid potential cyber threats can provide greater resilience against threat actors.

“This is especially important as the pandemic continues to take a mental toll on professionals, potentially affecting their judgment and exposing themselves — and their organisations — to greater risk.”