Economic uncertainty set to shape 2021 cybercrime agenda in Africa

Last year, the number of cybersecurity attacks increased globally, a time when lots were forced to stay at home if possible to help curb the spread of COVID-19. Internet use increased immensely when the pandemic kicked in as people opted for messaging and video conferencing apps to stay in touch.

Massive internet use for keeping in touch with friends and family, learning, and working remotely all but presented a massive opportunity for the bad guys.

This year, experts do not anticipate any changes for the better.

Kaspersky experts warn that the growing economic turbulence alongside the pandemic’s impact will result in increased cybercrime activities across the African continent. Like the company’s previous security reports, the focus only touches on three key countries on the continent: South Africa, Kenya, and Nigeria.

“…thanks to the increased connectedness of people, the rise in unemployment will not only see a spike in traditional crime, but this will also extend to the digital environment – something we are already seeing,” says Lehan van den Heever, Enterprise Cyber Security Advisor for Kaspersky in Africa.

The increase in cybercrimes will vary from country to country, but experts warn nations to prepare for inevitable spikes in malware attacks. An August research released by the company reported more than 28 million malware-based attacks in Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa.

CAK’s recent Sector Statistics report also painted a similar picture of increasing malware-based attacks. A total of 35.2 million cyber threat events were detected in Kenya from July to September 2020, 31.8million being malware.

Kaspersky also expects growth in Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs), where hackers-for-hire and cyber mercenary groups are a growing concern that could be leveraged to target SMEs and financial institutions.

APT is not prevalent in Africa yet, but the cybersecurity company has been calling on industry players to prepare.

“…the region is not immune to this cyber threat,” van den Heever says.

Data breaches are expected to increase in 2021 as well, as companies start to normalize remote working. Remote working, while convenient for businesses, can also lead to massive security consequences.

A major focus for companies has been always-on availability, Kaspersky says, turning a blind eye to changing their cybersecurity approach to adapt to the new environment.

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Alvin Wanjala

Alvin Wanjala has been writing about technology for over 2 years. He writes about different topics in the consumer tech space. He loves streaming music, programming, and gaming during downtimes.

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