Kaspersky Lab, a Russia-based multinational cybersecurity and anti-virus provider has warned that Nigeria and other African countries face an increased risk of cyber-security threats.
This was disclosed in a report released by the firm, Fintech Times reports.
In particular, Kaspersky cites Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa as three African countries most at risk. This is in spite of an overall decrease in certain malware attacks in these countries in H1 2020. Specifically, Kaspersky notes that Nigeria had witnessed a 2.7 decrease; while South Africa recorded a 36% decrease and 26% decrease in Kenya.
The reports noted that in Nigeria, South Africa and Kenya, as well as in other African countries; the evolving techniques of Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs) and the possibilities of being a future target of hacking-for-hire threat actor groups remain a major concern.
It added that APT groups are exploiting the current uncertainty around COVID-19 to steal sensitive information; noting that more sophisticated techniques have emerged that delivers malware in non-conventional ways. While overall malware attacks in South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria decreased during the first two quarters of 2020; certain malware types, such as the STOP ransomware, are proving increasingly popular for certain cyber-criminals.
Further, the report says the same applies to financial malware in South Africa and Nigeria.; which even though it decreased in these countries, certain financial malware types are gaining in popularity due to their unique techniques which is being used to monetise data.
Equally important, Kaspersky disclosed that the top industries under attack in Sub-Saharan Africa in H1 2020 include government; as well as education, healthcare, and military. In addition, it revealed that the top three threat actors in these regions in this regard are TransparentTribe, Oilrig, and MuddyWater.
Maher Yamout, Senior Security Research, Global Research & Analysis Team at Kaspersky stated that Africa will continue to witness a rise in APTs and hacking-for-hire activities.
“The remainder of the year will likely see APT groups and hacking-for-hire threat actors increase in prominence across the globe. Africa will continue to see more sophisticated APTs emerge…We also suspect that the hacking-for-hire actor type could target companies in Africa in the future.
‘‘We also anticipate that cybercriminals will increase targeted ransomware deployment using different ways. These can range from trojanised cracked software to exploitation across the supply chain of the targeted industry. Data breaches will certainly become more commonplace especially as people will continue to work remotely for the foreseeable future while exposing their systems to the Internet without adequate protection.”
Meanwhile, Kaspersky research has found that globally, APT groups are evolving their techniques. In addition, they are upgrading their toolset to continue stealing sensitive information. It has also seen a rise of hackers-for-hire or cyber mercenaries during the first two quarters of 2020.