A recent cyber threats report by cybersecurity firm Kaspersky has revealed that Nigeria, South Africa, and Kenya are the top three African countries facing online threats. The report highlights their prominence in the global top 100 for online threats, with Nigeria ranking 50th worldwide, South Africa ranking 82nd, and Kenya ranking 35th.
During the first quarter of 2023, Kaspersky reported that backdoor and spyware attacks were the most common threat types in South Africa, with 106,000 attack attempts recorded. Nigeria experienced 46,000 similar attack attempts, while Kenya saw a significant peak at 143,000 attacks of the same type. However, in Kenya, exploits emerged as the most dominant form of attack, with 177,000 incidents blocked.
The report also emphasizes the growing surge of zombie machines, which refers to connected devices that become part of a botnet. Legacy devices, forgotten devices, IoT devices, network equipment, printers, cameras, and even coffee machines can fall into this category. In South Africa, 1.6 million zombie machines were detected in the year to date, while Kenya recorded 300,000 instances.
Dr. Amin Hasbini, Head of the Global Research & Analysis Team (GReAT) for META at Kaspersky, presented the report at the GITEX Africa conference in Morocco. Dr. Hasbini noted that cybercriminal attacks are primarily driven by financial motives, and advanced attacks demonstrate the adaptability of cyber threat actors in breaching security measures. He also highlighted the targeting of African entities by various ransomware groups.
Given the increasing sophistication of cyber threats, Kaspersky advises businesses to adopt a multi-layered defensive strategy. The use of extended detection and response (XDR) solutions is recommended, as they provide an additional layer of protection by analyzing data from endpoints and other sources. Continuous security awareness training for employees, access to real-time intelligence on the latest attack methods, and leveraging advanced technologies such as threat feeds and security information and event management systems are also crucial components of a robust cybersecurity strategy.
Dr. Hasbini emphasized that cybersecurity measures require ongoing efforts and that there is no universal solution to fully secure a corporate network or data. It is essential for businesses to remain vigilant and continually adapt to the evolving threat landscape.
As online threats continue to evolve, it is imperative for organizations in Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya, and across Africa to prioritize cybersecurity measures and invest in comprehensive defense strategies to safeguard their operations and protect against potential cyber attacks.