This is according to the Cisco 2015 Annual Security Report, which examines both the concept of threat intelligence as well as cybersecurity trends in the country.

“Attackers have become more proficient at taking advantage of security gaps and are targeting unsuspecting South African users,” said Greg Griessel, consulting systems engineer for security solutions at Cisco South Africa. 

“At any given time, we should expect for one per cent of high-urgency vulnerabilities to be actively exploited, while 56 per cent of all OpenSSL versions are still vulnerable to Heartbleed.”

Trends in cyber attacks shown by Cisco include the use of snowshoe spam – where attackers send low volumes of spam from a large set of IP addresses to avoid detection, as well as the use of combining programs such as Flash and JavaScript, as it is more difficult to detect.

(READ MORE: The next generation in cyber security)

Security teams also need to continuously improve their approach to protect organisations as attacks are often complicated by factors such as geopolitical motivations, conflicting cross-border data localisations and sovereignty requirements.

“Security is now the responsibility of everyone within South African organisations, from the board room to individual users. Security leaders and practitioners need the support of the entire business to combat malicious actors who are increasing in their proficiencies to exploit weakness and hide their attacks in plain sight,” said Griessel.