According to Kaspersky, a Russian multinational cybersecurity and anti-virus provider company, Nigeria, South Africa, and Kenya are currently facing the highest online threats among African countries. The report indicates that these three countries rank prominently in the global top 100 for online threats. Specifically, Nigeria is ranked 50th worldwide, South Africa is ranked 82nd, and Kenya is ranked 35th.
Dr. Amin Hasbini, the Head of the Global Research and Analysis Team (GReAT), warned business and technology leaders about two primary forms of cyber attacks: criminal attacks driven by financial profit and advanced attacks that demonstrate the adaptability of cyber threat actors. He emphasized that cybercriminals are learning from successful advanced attacks, leading to a growing concern.
Kaspersky’s data for the first quarter of 2023 reveals that South Africa experienced the most common threat types in the form of backdoor and spyware attacks, with 106,000 attack attempts. Similarly, Nigeria faced 46,000 attack attempts, while Kenya encountered 143,000 attacks of the same type. Exploits emerged as the dominant form of attack in Kenya, with 177,000 incidents blocked.
Kaspersky also highlighted the increasing prevalence of zombie machines, which are connected devices that become part of a botnet. Examples include legacy devices, IoT devices, network equipment, printers, cameras, and even coffee machines. South Africa detected 1.6 million zombie machines, while Kenya identified 300,000.
Dr. Hasbini’s presentation raised concerns about ransomware groups targeting African targets, especially critical infrastructure, financial institutions, government entities, and service providers. To combat these sophisticated cyber threats, he recommended adopting a multi-layered defensive strategy, including extended detection and response (XDR) solutions that analyze data from various sources. He also stressed the importance of continuous security awareness training for employees and access to real-time intelligence on the latest attack methods. 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 should be considered as part of a comprehensive cybersecurity strategy.
Dr. Hasbini emphasized that cybersecurity measures require ongoing efforts and that there is no one-size-fits-all solution to secure corporate networks and data.