While the rise in remote work has accelerated digital transforming for many businesses, it has also accelerated cybercrime. With smaller budgets, and a number of workers using home or public networks, many businesses are left vulnerable to cybercrime without even knowing it.


Yes working from a coffee shop is a nice change of scenery, or working from home reduces your time in traffic, but is your network as secure as you think it is? There are a number of scams making their rounds in 2021, some you might be familiar with, and some not. 


Here are the top most common cyber crimes in South Africa making the rounds:


Accessing poorly secured networks


Ever thought about your network’s password? Not many of us have, but the standard one set by your internet service provider is a generic code that can easily be intercepted. It’s easier than you think for an algorithm to pick up your preset password, and so changing it to something more difficult and personalised will make it difficult for criminals to figure it out. This not only reduces the chances of your password being discovered, but also any sensitive information on your network from being obtained.




Ever received an email that looked a bit suspicious? Or found an app in your app store that doesn’t have any reviews? Steer clear of downloading unverified apps or clicking on links in emails that don’t look credible. This is a tactic used by cybercriminals to download software onto a device that allows them to read your messages and data or even listen to a conversation. 


Another software related cybercrime, ransomware (a type of malware) accesses a device, server or network and makes the data undecipherable to the victim. It basically encrypts the data for the user. It can also lock a user out of their device entirely. It often occurs when victims receive a spam email that tries to convince them to click a link that will end up in malicious malware being downloaded to the device. Unfortunately, despite the ransom being paid, the data is most often not unscrambled or the device unlocked


Making use of a malware removal tool is your best chance of reducing your risk of becoming a ransomware victim. It will scan your website daily, and remove any malware detected before it becomes a serious threat.




Also known as brand impersonation, spoofing is a type of online scam where a criminal pretends to be a legitimate business in order to gain your trust, and eventually access to your personal data or finances. They generally contact victims through email, phone calls, text messages or social media contact. 


The trend is to offer a fake competition or create a non-existent banking issue and ask the victim for personal details and information in order to enter the competition or fix the issue. Once this sensitive information has been handed over, bank accounts, websites or servers are then accessed and data or money is taken.


Always check that a social media account is legitimate such as the blue tick on Facebook, your website has an SSL certificate to secure its data, and that you never hand over login or bank account details over to someone over the phone. No legitimate business will request these details in order to complete a process in such a remote way.


If you’re working from home, an airport or any other public space, seriously consider how vulnerable your website is on a less robust network. On top of that, don’t assume that every email, phone call or social media message is from a legitimate business. This means you don’t hand out information unless you have verified that the person you’re speaking to is verified. 


Basic website security is also a must, particularly in a time where more consumers than ever are browsing and shopping online.