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Nigeria, three others suffer 85 million malware attacks

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[FILES] Malware attack. Photo: FORBES


cyberattacks via malware intrusion have continued to increase in Africa with four countries suffering 85 million attacks in the last six months.

Kaspersky, which disclosed this, said malware has become rife across Africa with various countries exhibiting strong growth in all malware types in the first half of 2021, when compared to the same period last year.

According to it, this is a five per cent increase in the region, as cybercriminals and hackers continue to focus on African countries considering digital transformation, advancements and the increase in remote working resulting from the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19).

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A malware attack is a common cyberattack where malware (normally malicious software) executes unauthorised actions on the victim’s system. The malicious software (a.k.a. virus) encompasses many specific types of attacks such as ransomware, spyware, command and control.

Kaspersky, a global cybersecurity and digital privacy company, said, overall, four countries account for 85 million attacks, with South Africa being the most targeted (32 million), followed by Kenya (28.3 million), Nigeria (16.7 million) and Ethiopia (eight million).

It pointed out that all countries, but Kenya, saw the relative growth of all malware attacks. Ethiopia and Nigeria saw increase of 20 per cent and 23 per cent respectively and South Africa 14 per cent, while Kenya’s number of attacks decreased by 13 per cent.

Enterprise Sales Manager at Kaspersky in Africa, Bethwel Opil, said: “Though the scourge of malware has always been of concern, the past 12 months have highlighted how hackers are refocusing their efforts to compromise consumer and corporate systems and gain access to critical data and information.

“Given the growth of digital transformation across Africa since last year, the continent has become an attractive target for those looking to exploit a lack of user education and cybersecurity understanding. This has contributed to the large number of personal devices still not having any form of cybersecurity software installed.”

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Opil stressed that malware could get onto a device in several ways; for example, he said clicking on an infected link or advert, opening an attachment in a spam mail or downloading a compromised app.”

According to him, there are several best practices to consider when it comes to malware protection. Kaspersky recommends installing anti-virus software on every device that connects to the Internet; downloading only applications from trusted sites, even then, always checking the app permissions and, if certain things do not make sense, do not instal the programme.

The firm urged Internet users never to click on unverified links especially when coming from suspected spam emails, messages or suspicious-looking websites, and ensured that they keep operation systems and applications always updated with the latest patches.

It stressed that there was need to be wary of using free Wi-Fi at coffee shops, restaurants, and other places as hackers can snoop for unprotected devices.

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