Monday, 6 June 2016

Mobile Malware: Africa’s Mobile-First Status May Make Us More Vulnerable

Quarterly analysis of the global Threat Index by Check Point Software Technologies Ltd. reveals deep disparities in the threat environments in Africa, and the potential for increased attacks as cyber-criminals target mobile devices.

Check Point is the largest global pure-play network cybersecurity vendor, and their Threat Index provides a data-based breakdown of new and prevalent threats, as well as the relative rankings of countries’ risk profiles globally – the higher the ranking the greater the threat of cyber-attack.

At the end of the first quarter of 2016 (January – March 2016), Nigeria ranks as the 16th highest ranked country, moving up two places from 18th position in the preceding quarter. Developing and African nations are highly represented in the upper rankings of the index, and Nigeria was surpassed by a handful of other African countries, including Namibia and Malawi in second and fourth spots respectively. In stark contrast, Kenya improved their ranking by 24 places, moving from 45th position at the end of 2015, to 69th at the end of the quarter.

The Index is based on threat intelligence drawn from Check Point’s ThreatCloud World Cyber Threat Map, which tracks how and where cyberattacks are taking place worldwide in real time.

Rick Rogers, Area Manager for East and West Africa at Check Point Software Technologies, says Nigeria’s worsening ranking may be due to a dramatic increase in threats targeting mobile devices specifically, while Kenya’s improvement could reflect a growing maturity in security awareness. “It’s not immediately clear why the East and West African hubs are experiencing such different moves in terms of cyber-attacks, and we are generally seeing a lot of volatility month to month for many of the countries on the index. But this quarter, mobile malware ranked as one of the ten most prevalent attack types affecting corporate networks and devices for the first time ever.”

“With Africa being the ‘mobile-first’ and often ‘mobile-only’ continent, this new wave of threats is likely to have a strong impact on the number of attacks evidenced in the region,” he continued. “Individuals who run their businesses off mobile devices, as well as organisations who have a bring-your-own-device policy, will need to prepare for this in their security strategy. It is necessary to apply the same level of security to mobile as required by traditional networks and PCs, and security professionals must have a coherent, over-arching threat management approach that addresses this.”

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