South Africa could face a massive cyber assault this year. At a recent International Data Corporation (IDC) and Microsoft event on cyber threats, the IDC’s Jon Tullett said one of the company’s predictions for 2017 was the country could see an attack at “public service level or within financial services. It will be a very public malware or ransomware attack“.

A recent ransomware cyber-attack caused havoc in 150 countries. Victims included the United Kingdom’s National Health Service, which had its computers and communications systems frozen across the health service, with hackers threatening to delete files unless a ransom was paid.

Thousands of patients, clinics and hospitals across the country were affected, with ambulances being diverted from accident and emergency rooms. It wasn’t just giant global corporations affected, it was real people. Sick people.

Janine Lazarus, a crisis communications consultant and founder of Janine Media, recently returned from Israel where she attended a course on cyber-attacks and crisis communications at Ariel University.

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