Africa suffered highest number of cyberattacks in 2021 - report

It was across five surveyed regions according to a report by Check point research.

In Summary

•Across the continent, an organization had to contend with an average of 1, 582 cyberattacks per week, which is an increase of 13 per cent from 2020.

•To achieve effective coverage, organizations should seek a single solution that can cover all attack surfaces and vectors.

People wearing balaclavas silhouetted as they pose with laptops in front of a screen projected with the word 'cyber crime' and binary code.
People wearing balaclavas silhouetted as they pose with laptops in front of a screen projected with the word 'cyber crime' and binary code.

Africa experienced the highest volume of cyber attacks in 2021 across five surveyed regions, according to a report by Check Point research.

Across the continent, organisations had to contend with an average of 1,582 cyberattacks per week,  an increase of 13 per cent from 2020.

Kenya suffered the second highest cyberattacks in Africa after Nigeria with 32.8 million attacks in the first six months of 2021.

The Asia-pacific region suffered the second highest volume of cyberattacks during the period year with an average of 1,353 weekly attacks per organisation followed by Latin America with 1,118 weekly attacks.

Kaspersky recorded a 24.6 per cent increase in attacks in Nigeria, followed by South Africa with a 16.6 per cent and Kenya with a 15.9 per cent increase, respectively.

“Threats can be categorised as criminal (80 per cent of attacks), targeted (19.9 per cent), and advanced (0.01per cent),” said Amin Hasbini, Head of Research Centre, Middle East, Turkey and Africa.

He said the advanced grouping is significantly more sophisticated and features increased investment from attack groups

Hasbini said that unfortunately, both criminal and targeted threat vectors learn from the advanced category to enhance their own attack techniques.

Furthermore, Kaspersky warns of 5G vulnerabilities, targeted ransomware gangs using generic malware, and more disruptive attacks along with more money demands, threatening and blackmailing. 

According to the Check Point report, the education sector  experienced the highest volume of attacks with an average of 1,605 attacks per organisation weekly, an increase of 75 per cent from 2020.

The government and military sectors had 1,136 attacks per week, a 47 per cent increase,  followed by communication industry that had 1,079 attacks weekly per,  a 51 per cent increase.

The report shows one of the biggest challenges facing the security practitioners is the Gen V attacks which is a combination of a wide breadth of threats, large-scale attacks and a broad attack surface.

It notes that a security architecture that enables and facilitates a unified and cohesive protection infrastructure provides comprehensive and faster protection compared to an infrastructure comprising of pieces that do not work together.

To achieve effective coverage, organisations should seek a single solution that can cover all attack surfaces and vectors.

The report advices that there should be one solution that provides broad prevention across all attack surfaces. 

Another strategy of preventing cyberattacks this year is by applying security patches. Cyberattacks penetrate networks by leveraging on known vulnerabilities where a patch is available but has not been applied.

Organisations must ensure up-to-date security patches are maintained across all systems and software.

Networks should be segmented, applying strong firewall and IPS safeguards between the network segments. This contains infections from propagating across the entire network.

User awareness can prevent an attack before it occurs. The organisation should take the time to educate the users and ensure that if they see something unusual, they report it to their security teams immediately.

There is not a single silver bullet technology that can protect organisations from all threats and threat vectors. However, there are many great technologies and ideas available such as machine learning, sandboxing, anomaly detection and content disarmament.

Each of the technologies can be highly effective in specific scenarios covering specific file types or attack vectors.

The two key components to consider are threat extraction (file sanitisation) and threat elimination (advanced sandboxing). Each of these elements provide distinct protection that when used together, they offer a comprehensive solution.

The data on this research were detected by its Threat Prevention technologies stored and analysed in Threat Cloud.

ThreatCloud provides real-time threat intelligence derived from hundreds of millions of sensors worldwide, over networks, endpoints and mobiles.   

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