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Lessons learnt from South Africa’s most recent cyber attacks: Lesson 2

Lesson 2: Traditional technologies fail

Cybersecurity has come a long way from a person monitoring traffic and reacting to something that looks to be out of place. A very long way. The focus has shifted to being proactive and preventing attacks before they happen. Whatever pathways are followed to make this happen, we can all agree that the traditional approach does not cover all the bases anymore.

Cyber criminals target South Africa. On average (according to the Accenture report) South Africans suffered 577 malware attacks per hour, an increase of 22% from the previous year. Add to this that more than 350 000 new pieces of malware are created per day that traditional cyber tools just can’t keep up with.

These traditional technologies are rules and signatures dependent focusing on a predefined view of what something bad looks like or what is a known threat. This means that there must be a patient zero in order to identify such threats and this is what we are seeing in South Africa.

This all combines to form a perfect storm where the organisations in South Africa are still heavily dependent on traditional cybersecurity tools,and cyber criminals have cottoned on to this fact and using more sophisticated and subtle approaches that are able to bypass traditional security controls. This is not to say that traditional tools have outlived their usefulness, but more advanced AI-focused tools are definitely needed.


  1. Insight into the cyber threat landscape in South Africa
  2. Forrester Report on The Emergence of Offensive AI
  3. Phishing from the inside: Microsoft 365 account hijack
  4. Darktrace Antigena: The Future of AI-Powered Autonomous Response
  5. The State of Email Security 2020


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