Cybersecurity: Over 81million attacks recorded in Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa Q2 2021 ─Report

*Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa have all shown significant annual growth in the number of cyberthreats targeting companies and consumers in 2021, compared to the same period in the previous year, say cybersecurity experts

Gbenga Kayode | ConsumerConnect

Cyberattacks are fast becoming a significant danger to organisations and consumers in the connected world, as the increase in cyberthreats in the first half of 2021 in Kenya amounted to 32.8 million, according to Kaspersky.

Compared to similarly prominently targeted countries on the African continent, the recorded number was at par with South Africa, accounting for 31.5 million, and near double the number recorded in Nigeria at 16.7 million, TheFintechTimes report stated.

ConsumerConnect learnt in overall, 81 million combined attacks were recorded in these three countries, which is indicative of how significant the danger has become to organisations and consumers in cyberspace.

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In his comment on the development, Amin Hasbini, Head of Research Centre, Global Research and Analysis Team, Middle East, Turkey and Africa at Kaspersky, said: “Threats can be categorised as criminal (80% of attacks), targeted (19.9%), and advanced (0.01%).

“The advanced grouping is significantly more sophisticated and features increased investment from attack groups.

“Unfortunately, both criminal and targeted threat vectors learn from the advanced category to enhance their own attack techniques.”

The company’s Head of Research Centre noted the current trends indicated that attackers around the world are embracing more sophisticated methods to compromise systems and data.

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They are looking at non-Microsoft environments, infecting firmware, and even embarking on ‘big game hunting’ exercises focused on high-profile targets with lots of money, Hasbini said.

According to Kaspersky, Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa have all shown significant annual growth in the number of threats targeting companies and users when compared to the same period last year: Kaspersky recorded a 24.6% increase in Nigeria, followed by South Africa with 16.6% and Kenya with a 15.9% increase, respectively.

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The most dominant threat actors on the continent identified by Kaspersky include Lazarus, DeathStalker, CactusPete, and IAmTheKing.

Nigerian mobile Internet consumers

Ransomware has also become a significant threat vector targeting users and organisations locally, report stated.

And when looking at future predictions, Kaspersky notes that ransomware development will continue.

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Hasbini also stated: “Our research shows that the most threatened industries common across these three countries are government and telecommunications, with diplomatic, education, and healthcare also being cause for concern.

“We have also seen large service-oriented organisations being targeted, for instance telecommunications, because of the services they provide high-profile companies.

“Threat attacks are using these as platforms to gain access to other businesses.”

On 5G technology vulnerabilities

Kaspersky further warned countries and organisations about vulnerabilities of 5G technology, targeted ransomware gangs using generic malware, and more disruptive cyberattacks along with more money demands, threatening and blackmailing.

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Hasbini further noted: “Of course, the growth of 5G across Africa means hackers have a new platform to exploit. Furthermore, advanced threat actors will buy network access from other cybercriminals.

“This will also result in increased collaboration between these cybercriminals and cyber gangs as they look at more effective ways of achieving their objectives.”

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He added: “Different gangs will also start specialising in tools and other methods to better advance penetration.

“As people and companies rely more on technology, the number of threats will continue to increase.

“People must accept the risks of living a connected lifestyle and embrace the technology and tools available to safeguard themselves.”

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