Understanding why Africa is susceptible to Cyberattacks

Susceptibility to Cyberattacks in Africa
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Africa’s digital economy is booming and offers many chances for expansion, but it also poses issues that need to be resolved if technology is to be used to its full potential.

The absence of a digital security infrastructure is one of Africa’s biggest problems. While many African nations concentrate on establishing dependable electricity and internet networks, cybersecurity is not given the priority it deserves. 

Recently,Kenya became a victim of cyberattack where the government’s digital service provider and other platforms came were breached. Following a cyber attack that prevented operations from running for hours, a number of service-oriented installations were offline. E-Citizen, Kenya Power, and Kenya Railways were among the businesses platforms whose services were interfered with.

This came a few weeks after the government increased the number of services on E-citizen to 5,000. Kenyans were unable to access any of the services on the eCitizen platform. The administration has expressed concern about the worrisome rate at which cyberattacks targeting institutions have increased in response to the new dangers.

Bank-to-Mpesa transfers, M-shwari and KCB Mpesa, the Mpesa App, and the My Safaricom app were among the other services impacted. The National Computer and Cybercrimes Coordination Committee had already issued a warning about an anticipated cyberattack on critical infrastructure that would interrupt vital services. 

Kurunzi news breaks down some of the factors that contribute to the rise of Cyberattacks in Africa:

a) Digital Transformation: As Africa embraces digital transformation in various sectors, it inadvertently creates new attack surfaces for cybercriminals to target.

b) Lack of Cybersecurity Awareness: Many individuals, businesses, and governments in Africa have limited knowledge about cyber threats and preventive measures, making them vulnerable to attacks.

c) Growing Internet Access: The increasing availability of internet access has resulted in a larger online population, making it a more attractive target for cybercriminals.

d) Insufficient Cybersecurity Infrastructure: Some African countries may lack robust cybersecurity frameworks and resources, making it easier for cyber attackers to succeed.

Mitigating Cyber Attacks:

To counter cyber attacks, a collaborative effort is essential involving governments, private sectors, and individuals:

a) Governments: Governments should prioritize cybersecurity by investing in robust frameworks, creating and enforcing cybersecurity laws, and fostering cooperation among law enforcement agencies. They should also promote cybersecurity education and awareness programs.

b) Private Sectors: Companies need to implement comprehensive cybersecurity measures, conduct regular audits and assessments, and provide cybersecurity training to their employees. Collaborating with cybersecurity firms can also enhance their defense capabilities.

c) Individuals: People should stay informed about the latest cyber threats, practice good cyber hygiene (using strong passwords, avoiding suspicious links), and be cautious about sharing sensitive information online.

Major Signs of an Impending Cyber Attack:

Being vigilant about potential cyber attacks is crucial. Some signs to watch out for include:

a) Unusual Network Activity: Frequent network crashes or slow performance may indicate a cyber intrusion.

b) Suspicious Emails: Phishing emails asking for sensitive information or containing suspicious links and attachments.

c) Unauthorized Access: Unexplained account logins or access attempts.

d) Unfamiliar Programs: The appearance of unfamiliar software on your devices may be a sign of malware.

e) Data Breaches: Sudden leakage of sensitive data or information.

Response to Cyber Attacks:

If you find yourself a victim of a cyber attack, here are the steps to take:

a) Isolate the Incident: Disconnect from the internet and other networks to prevent further damage.

b) Report the Incident: Inform the appropriate authorities, such as your local cybersecurity agency or law enforcement.

c) Seek Professional Help: Contact a cybersecurity expert or firm to assist in identifying and resolving the issue.

d) Secure Your Systems: Strengthen your security measures to prevent future attacks.

e) Inform Relevant Parties: If sensitive data is compromised, inform affected individuals or customers.

Remember, cybersecurity is an ongoing effort, and staying proactive in safeguarding your digital presence is vital.

Courtesy of Wandile Mabaso Managing Director of Wapo Group (Cyber Security company)


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