The growing need for Cyber Security in businesses in Africa

Let’s start with this bold statement: “Africa is the most exposed continent to cyber attacks!” The digital realm is both amazing and horrifying at the same time. Beyond trailblazing Artificial Intelligence (AI), 5G, autonomous cars and blockchains; there are cybercrimes. In Africa, cyber security has been flagged as the biggest threat to business. With the rise in adopting mobile and digital technologies, 94% of companies in Africa and the Middle East admitted having suffered a cyber attack in the past year alone. [Source: IOL: Cyber security remains the biggest threat to business in Africa]

Africa Is World’s Most Vulnerable Continent to Cyber Attacks

According to some experts, the lack of, or decrepit conditions of high tech infrastructure, as well as the lack of public policies for cybersecurity implementation, make Africa both the most exposed continent to cyber threats, as well as the least equipped to deal with the high and growing rate of cyber threats. [Source: Morocco world news]

What do hackers gain?

One might think that the answer is obvious – money! But not all cybercriminals are after money. Some cyber attacks are performed by data thieves and whistle-blowers. Some hackers just want to expose bad people, but others do hold your information ransom.

What information do hackers target
  • Personal information: Residential addresses, usernames, passwords, and IP addresses.
  • Sensitive documents: Business contracts, payrolls and mailing lists are also a big target.
  • Computer systems compromised by malware. 
Cyber security threats in the medical field

A new report estimates that the global cybersecurity market will be worth $143 billion in the year 2021, and that this major growth will be driven in part by the need for better security for vital connected medical devices. Of course, any possible attacks against critical medical devices – and things like hospital infusion pumps which were open to Urgent/11 exploitation – are a truly worrying prospect, because unlike typical hacking or malware infections, it’s not just your bank balance that might be threatened, but conceivably your life. [Source: Techradar] 

The way forward for cyber security in Africa

Africa must take cybersecurity seriously and emphasise investment into this field a lot more, if we want to take part in the fourth industrial revolution (4IR) – [Use link to other article]. Detailed regulatory frameworks with reporting can help countries in Africa grasp the risks of cyber-security and then manage and alleviate these risks. A discussion on cyber risk amongst key stakeholders, within the broader context of risk, is also essential. Furthermore, cross-border cooperation will strengthen cyber-security in Africa. [Source: IOL: Cyber security remains the biggest threat to business in Africa]

What can YOU do to your confidential information?
  • Have an updated firewall and anti-virus protection
  • Keep your operating system and applications up to date
  • Change your passwords regularly
  • Back up your data regularly
  • Continuously train your employees on cyber etiquette
  • Be aware of spams and malicious links

[Source: CNB Africa]

Is your company protected? What measures have you taken to protect your company and confidential information?