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Cybersafety: Nigeria, S’Africa, Kenya lead countries with highest threats in Africa –Report

*Nigeria also currently, ranks 50th worldwide for online threats, South Africa ranks 82nd, and Kenya is 35th on the global list of top 100 countries, according to Kaspersky, a Russian multinational cybersecurity and anti-virus firm

Gbenga Kayode | ConsumerConnect

Kaspersky, a Russian multinational cybersecurity and anti-virus company, has revealed that Nigeria, South Africa and Kenya are facing the highest online threats on the African continent, an industry report said.

It was learnt the three African countries featured prominently in the global top 100 for online threats.

According to the report, Nigeria currently, ranks 50th worldwide for online threats, South Africa ranks 82nd, and Kenya is 35th on the global list.

Kaspersky presented the reality of online threats on the continent at the recent inaugural GITEX Africa conference that took place in Morocco, the report stated.

Dr. Amin Hasbini, Head of the Global Research and Analysis Team (GReAT), highlighted several cyberthreat trends, warning business and technology leaders about two primary forms of cyberattacks – criminal and advanced, African Business report said.

Hasbini was quoted to have said: “Criminal attacks are mainly driven by the pursuit of financial profit, whereas advanced attacks indicate how cyberthreat actors continually adapt their tactics and tools to breach security measures.

“A significant portion of the attacks witnessed across Africa are shaped by the rapidly changing geopolitical landscape.

“However, a growing concern is that cybercriminals are learning from successful advanced attacks to refine their craft.”

Cyberthreat trends Q1 2023

In the first quarter of 2023, Kaspersky further revealed that backdoor and spyware attacks were the most common threat types in South Africa, accumulating 106,000 attack attempts.

The report also disclosed that similar attack attempts were observed in Nigeria, amassing 46,000, while the same type of attack increased to 143,000 in Kenya.

However, in Kenya, exploits emerged as the most dominant form of attack with 177,000 incidents blocked.

Kaspersky as well highlighted the growing surge of zombie machines–connected device that becomes part of a botnet.

Examples include legacy, old and forgotten devices, Internet of Things (IoT) devices, network equipment, printers, cameras, and even coffee machines.

Till date this year, 1.6 million zombie machines have been detected in South Africa and 300,000 in Kenya, noted the report.

Dr. Hasbini’s presentation also flagged several ransomware groups setting their sights on African targets.

He stated: “Threats to critical infrastructure, financial institutions, government entities, and service providers have predominated the cyber threat landscape over the past year.

“We have witnessed different threat actors target various businesses across industries.”

Solutions to cyberthreats

Providing solutions to growing threats in cyberspace, Hasbini informed businesses to offer rapid responses to these increasingly sophisticated cyber threats, as Kaspersky also advised businesses to adopt a multi-layered defensive strategy.

“This is where extended detection and response (XDR) solutions become essential – they analyse data from endpoints and other sources.

“XDR introduces another layer of protection as attacks on infrastructure can occur through any entry point,” Hasbini noted.

He further explained: “XDR also adds analytical and automation functions to detect and eliminate current and potential threats.

“Furthermore, continuous security awareness training for employees and real-time access to intelligence on the latest attack methods should supplement any cybersecurity strategy.

“Businesses should consider leveraging advanced technologies such as threat feeds, security information and event management systems, endpoint detection and response solutions, and tools with digital forensics and incident response features.”

The cybersecurity expert said: “It is vital to understand that cyber security measures are an ongoing endeavour – and that there is no universal solution to secure a corporate network or data.”

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