By Biodun Busari
A report has revealed that Nigeria, South Africa and Kenya are facing the highest online threats in the African continent, according to a Russian multinational cybersecurity and anti-virus provider company, Kaspersky.
The three countries featured prominently in the global top 100 for online threats, adding that
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 in the continent at the recent inaugural GITEX Africa conference that took place in Morocco.
The Head of the Global Research and Analysis Team (GReAT), Dr Amin Hasbini expanded on several cyber threat trends, warning business and technology leaders about two primary forms of cyber attacks – criminal and advanced, according to the African Business.
“Criminal attacks are mainly driven by the pursuit of financial profit, whereas advanced attacks indicate how cyber threat 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,” Hasbini said.
In the first quarter of 2023, Kaspersky revealed that backdoor and spyware attacks were the most common threat types in South Africa, accumulating 106,000 attack attempts.
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 also highlighted the growing surge of zombie machines–connected device that becomes part of a botnet. Examples include legacy, old and forgotten devices, IoT devices, network equipment, printers, cameras, and even coffee machines. In the year to date, 1.6 million zombie machines have been detected in South Africa and 300,000 in Kenya.
Dr Hasbini’s presentation also flagged several ransomware groups setting their sights on African targets.
“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,” he said.
Providing solutions, Hasbini informed businesses to offer rapid responses to these increasingly sophisticated cyber threats, as Kaspersky advised businesses to adopt a multi-layered defensive strategy.
Hasbini said, “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. 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.”
“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,” Hasbini added.