Cyber crimes soaring in Africa amid weak defenses: Report

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Cyber crimes soaring in Africa amid weak defenses: Report
Networking cables and circuit boards are shown in Toronto on Wednesday, November 8, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

Nairobi:  Sub-Saharan African region could be the next epicentre of the space-tracing government installations, private businesses and ordinary citizens thanks to weak deterrent measures, says a report launched in Nairobi on Tuesday.

The 2017 Africa cyber security report compiled by a Nairobi-based consulting firm, Serianu, disclosed that the continent lost an estimated $3.5 billion last year as a result of increase in sophisticated cyber crimes, reports Xinhua.

Experts said the report, which covered 700 public and private institutions in ten African countries, confirmed that the soaring cyber attacks in the continent posed new threats to its security, economic growth and stability.

“The threat of cyber attacks has gained foothold in Africa yet Governments and private sectors are yet to invest in adequate defenses to curb their spread,” William Makatiani, CEO of Serianu, was quoted as saying.

“Securing data should accordingly be a priority for public and private institutions in the light of rapidly evolving threats to cyberspace,” he added.

Serianu and a consortium of telecommunication giants, academic institutions and think tanks conducted the survey which revealed that cyber attacks were more pronounced in banks, government agencies and mid-sized enterprises across Africa.

The survey noted that cyber crimes had also escalated in African cities where Internet connections are higher.

Makatiani regretted that digital infrastructure owned by households has not been spared the threat of mustard attacks therefore the need to invest in strong defenses.

“Securing homes and individual devices is now a paramount issue. Households must now introduce as part of their annual budgets, a cyber security component,” said Makatiani.

African small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that provide bulk of employment to the youth and are substantially relying on the Internet to include transactions are grappling with cyber attacks of huge magnitude.

Makatiani noted that these these SMEs lack the financial and technical capacity to deal with cyber threats.