Technology

Kenya reports highest cyber attacks in Africa

cyber
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Summary

  • Data from cybersecurity firm Kaspersky showed that Kenyans faced more malware attacks, around 14 million, and 41 million potentially unwanted programmes (pornware and adware among others).
  • This means the malware attacks in Kenya accounted for 50 percent of the attacks in Africa, which had a cumulative 28 million in 2020 and 102 million detections of potentially unwanted programmes (PUA).
  • In Nigeria, there were 3.8 million malware attacks and 16.8 million PUA detections – which is four times as much. In SA, there were almost 10 million malware attacks and a staggering 43 million PUA detections.

Kenya reported some of the highest cyber attacks in Africa for the first seven months of 2020 compared to South Africa and Nigeria.

Data from cybersecurity firm Kaspersky showed that Kenyans faced more malware attacks, around 14 million, and 41 million potentially unwanted programmes (pornware and adware among others).

This means the malware attacks in Kenya accounted for 50 percent of the attacks in Africa, which had a cumulative 28 million in 2020 and 102 million detections of potentially unwanted programmes (PUA).

In Nigeria, there were 3.8 million malware attacks and 16.8 million PUA detections – which is four times as much. In SA, there were almost 10 million malware attacks and a staggering 43 million PUA detections.

“The reason why ‘grey zone’ software is growing in popularity is that it is harder to notice at first and that if the programme is detected, its creators won’t be considered to be cybercriminals,” says Denis Parinov, a security researcher at Kaspersky.

“The problem with them is that users are not always aware they consented to the installation of such programmes on their device and that in some cases, such programmes are exploited or used as a disguise for malware downloads.”

Kaspersky says PUA programmes are usually not considered malicious. However, they are generally influencing user experience in a negative way. For instance, adware fills user device with ads; aggressive monetising software propagates unrequested paid offers; downloaders may pump applications on the device, sometimes malicious ones.

PUAs attack users almost four times more often than traditional malware. They also reach more users. While in South Africa, the malware would attack 415,000 users in seven months of 2020, the figure for PUA would be 736,000.

This comes after reports by Upstream showed that thousands of low-cost devices made by Tecno came infected with pre-installed malware.

The Upstream data indicated that more than 19.2 million suspicious transactions were recorded from the more than 200,000 devices.

“This particular threat takes advantage of those most vulnerable. The fact that the malware arrives pre-installed on handsets that are bought in their millions by typically low-income households tells you everything you need to know about what the industry is currently up against,” said Geoffrey Cleaves, head of Secure-D at Upstream.