Africa Under Siege By Rising Mobile Threat – Checkpoint
Leading provider of cyber-security solutions globally, Check Point Software Technologies has recognized Africa as an important region for growth and investment, particularly as African countries are increasingly a choice target for cybercriminals.
Even though the continent’s internet penetration was only 35.2% in December 2017, 19.2% behind the world average, cybercrime is a serious threat to countries in Africa. One of the main challenges that the security industry in Africa, and globally, continuously fight against is mobile security. It’s hardly surprising given that sub-Saharan Africa alone currently has a unique mobile subscriber penetration of 44%, expected to hit 52% in 2025.
“The sheer economy of scale offered by mobile devices is incredibly appealing to cybercriminals. They are using every available opportunity to attack individuals and organisations through their mobile devices, including Apps, particularly because these devices are so popular and people usually do not take as strict precautions when it comes to securing them as they would with their laptops for example,” explains Rick Rogers, Regional Director, Africa at Check Point.
Check Point has discovered two major vulnerabilities related to mobile devices over the past month alone – Man-in-the-Disk which our researchers discovered a new attack surface for Android apps exploiting a shortcoming in the way that Android apps use storage resources and FakesApp which researchers discovered a vulnerability in WhatsApp that allows a threat actor to intercept and manipulate messages sent by those in a group or private conversation.
It’s no surprise that mobile attacks are having a major impact on organisations is Nigeria. One of the key markets in Africa, Nigeria is quickly becoming a mobile-first country, with mobile penetration increasing from 53% in 2016 to 84% in 2017. And considering the availability of phones is at a lower price point, more Nigerians are now able to afford a mobile device.
Even though major malware like Ransomware, cryptominer, and banking trojans have had, and continue to have, a big impact, it is mobile attacks on Nigerian companies that are growing in prevalence. When comparing the impact of these attacks to the global market we find that Nigeria averaged 20% – 35% higher between January and August this year, which is not to be taken lightly.
The current threat landscape has evolved into a much more aggressive beast. We are now experiencing Gen V (5th Generation) cyber-attacks, which are characterized as large-scale and fast moving across multiple industries.“These sophisticated attacks on mobile, cloud and various enterprise networks, easily bypass conventional defenses being used by most organizations today as they rely on older generations of security,” says Rogers.
Seeing that Africa is increasingly under threat from cyber criminals, the need for local businesses to partner with security specialists that can help them remain one step ahead of the game is essential.
To ensure that enterprises across Africa have access to the expertise and technology needed to protect themselves from sophisticated attacks on all fronts, the company has invested in growing its local teams in North Africa, East Africa, South Africa, SADC and West Africa through the following appointments:
Bryan Chuka Ofoegbu – Acting Country Manager for Nigeria and West Africa; Grant Hamilton – Country Manager for South Africa; Kendi Ntwiga-Nderitu – Country Manager for Kenya and East Africa; Tony Galvao – Sales Manager, South Africa; Filipe Galvao – Acting Country Manager for SADC (excluding South Africa) and Matan Burstein – Africa SE Manager.
With a team of over 40 members across Africa, Check Point can provide their clients across the continent with greater access to the Check Point team and direct services.
Given the pace at which the cyber security industry operates, remaining future-focused is key. Check Point is already focused on the next wave of attacks and ensuring that our clients across Africa and the world can protect their organizations, their employees and their reputations in the ever-evolving space that is cyber security.