Cyber threats to mobile devices in Nigeria rises to 35%

Nigeria and other African countries are a target for cybercriminals, a cybersecurity solutions provider, Check Point Software has said.

CheckPoint Software Technologies noted that though the continent’s Internet penetration was only 35.2 per cent in December 2017, 19.2 per cent behind the world average, cybercrime is a serious threat to countries in Africa.

One of the main challenges faced by the security industry in Africa, and globally, is mobile security. It is hardly surprising given that sub-Saharan Africa alone has a unique mobile subscriber penetration of 44 per cent, expected to hit 52 per cent 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 strict precautions when it comes to securing them as they would with their laptops for example,”Rick Rogers, Regional Director, Africa at Check Point, said.

Check Point said it has discovered two major vulnerabilities related to mobile devices over the past month alone. These are Man-in-the-Disk which its researchers discovered to be a new attack surface for Android apps exploiting a shortcoming in the way that Android apps use storage resources. The second is 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 per cent in 2016 to 84 per cent in 2017. And considering the availability of phones is at a lower price point, more Nigerians are able to afford a mobile device.

Though major malware, such as ransomware, cryptominer, and banking trojans, have had, and continue to have, a big impact, it is mobile attacks on Nigerian companies that are growing. When comparing the impact of these attacks to the global market, we find that Nigeria averaged 20 per cent – 35 per cent higher between January and August this year, which is not to be taken lightly,” the firm said.

The threat landscape has evolved into a much more aggressive beast. “We are experiencing Gen V (5th Generation) cyber-attacks, which are characterised as large-scale and fast moving across multiple industries.

“These sophisticated attacks on mobile, cloud and various enterprise networks, easily bypass conventional defences being used by most organisations today as they rely on older generations of security,” Rogers said.

Seeing that Africa is increasingly under threat from cybercriminals, 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 Afric.

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Gbenga Ajao
Gbenga Ajao is a journalist. He has garnered experience in print, electronic and new media. He is passionate about mobile and web technology.

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