Africa’s Cyber Threats Triple Global Average, Says Check Point Report

Africa experiences three times as many cyber threats as the global average. However, the continent is still reliant on second-and third generation cyber security tech to defend itself, and needs to to catch up with global trend of using sixth generation technology


This is one of the key talking points from a presentation on cyber security in the modern era hosted by cyber security firm Check Point South Africa at its office in Johannesburg this week.

Based on input from its African technology hubs as well as Check Point entities in Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria and South Africa, the company found that over the past month Angola was the most targeted country in Africa, followed by Nigeria and then Uganda.

Financial services, telecommunications, the public sector as well as energy & natural resources are heavily targeted.

Pankaj Bhula, regional director, Africa at Check Point, said there was a combination of reasons for Africa’s prominence as a target, including bureaucracy, slow response from governments, a lack of adherence to best practices and shortage of cyber security skills.

“There is a cyber security skills gap of 3.5 million worldwide, so one can only imagine what the situation is locally,” said Bhula.

To this end, Check Point South Africa supports the roll out of education programmes and has adopted the Tembisa Youth Centre to help develop local cyber security skills, certification and recruitment.

The company continues to emphasise the need for prevention when it comes to cyber security. “So put anything in place to prevent…the culture in Africa is not to implement best practices but rather to fix the problem when they found the mistake as opposed to prevent it,” he added.

Check Point referred to a World Economic Forum (WEF) Global Cybersecurity Outlook 2023 report according to which a staggering 91% of respondents believe that a far-reaching catastrophic cyber event is at least somewhat likely in the next two years.

This could well be cyber security’s version of COVID-19, said Bhula.

Global cyber security experts have warned of a gathering cyber storm and that this year would be ‘consequential’ for cyber security – a major topic of discussion at the WEF Annual Meeting 2023 held in Davos, Switzerland, in January.

Check Point underlined the need for realtime security as Africa’s attack surface has increased, marked by increased adoption of cloud, the advent of OpenAI platform ChatGPT, an increase in maturity of hacktivist groups, as well as increase in DDOS and botnet related attacks.

The company advocates what it calls the ‘3Cs’ of best security: comprehensive (prevention across all attack vectors), collaborative (best security engines applied to any attack vector) and consolidated (trusted vendor, unified management).

“The concern we have is that even if you have the latest security, you may not be able to protect yourself from realtime threats. For example, ChatGPT is something quite scary… it is something that is intelligent enough to create malicious code even without the need for someone to tell it to do that.”

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