May 19, 2023

Nigerian companies vulnerable to new cyber attack methods

Nigerian companies vulnerable to new cyber attack methods

By Prince Osuagwu, Hi-Tech Editor

Despite a new report that Nigerian businesses have increased their cyber security budget by 10 percent in the last few years, there are fears they are still at risk of attack due to a rising modernization of cyber attack models by hackers.

Software giant, Microsoft has just announced that due to the growth of Internet of Things, IoT devices in Africa, countries in the region that are not prepared to mitigate the risk accompanying the growth will be potential victims.

The report by Microsoft’s 43 trillion daily security signals and 8,500 security experts who provide insight into the latest security trends in the Middle East and Africa, reveals that attackers are increasingly making use of operational technology to gain entry into company networks.

The report said that over 1.1 billion IoT connections are expected in the Middle East and Africa by 2023 giving cybercriminals more opportunities to breach an organization’s network.

According to the report, ”for CIOs in the Middle East and Africa (MEA), the impact of a possible security breach is top of mind in an increasingly complex threat environment. This can be seen in the 11.2 percent rise in cybersecurity spending in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) for 2022”.

Country Manager for Microsoft Nigeria and Ghana, Ola Williams, said: “Organizations are more connected than ever before. From the humble Wi-Fi router to the everyday office printer, IT teams need to view their IoT devices differently and secure them as they would any company laptop to prevent security breaches. Gaining complete visibility of an organization’s OT systems and protecting its IoT solutions will go a long way in preventing cyberattacks” she added.

She noted that the growing rate of digital transformation within the African region is facilitating the emergence of new attack vectors and opportunities for cybercriminals. “For Nigerian CIOs the consequences of a possible security breach are their number one concern as they look to navigate an increasingly complex threat and regulatory landscape. This is according to the Enterprise Security Trends in Nigeria survey, conducted by the IDC and commissioned by Microsoft. Nigerian organizations realize the importance of developing a proactive approach to security. The IDC survey revealed that 72% of organizations in Nigeria have increased security budgets by 10% or more in the last few years.

“The increase in digital transformation across the region has enabled organizations to manage their buildings, emergency systems and access control with smart devices connected to a network. In addition, we have seen an increase in IoT devices in the workplace to better enable hybrid work such as smart conference rooms with microphones and cameras” Williams added.

She advised that as the threat landscape continues to expand and become more complex, organizations need to rethink their cyber risk approach to stay one step ahead of would-be attackers.

She expressed worry that Cyber Signals found that there are currently over 1 million connected devices publicly visible on the Internet running Boa, an outdated and unsupported software still widely used in IoT devices and software development kits.