In Nigeria, law firms, media, education, NGOs, government, telecoms, diplomatic and the healthcare sector are more exposed to cyber attacks.
And in Kenya, the most threatened industries were diplomatic, government, military and education.
According to Kaspersky research, there has been a surge in cyber threat notifications across the continent.
In the first half of 2021, 31.5 million threats targeting users and organisations were noted in South Africa – representing an annual growth and increase of 16.6%, while 32.8 million were seen in Kenya – an increase of 15.9%, and 16.7 million in Nigeria – an increase of 24.6%.
This is according to Amin Hasbini, head of Research Center, Global Research & Analysis Team, Middle East, Turkey and Africa at Kaspersky, who was speaking during a webinar on the evolving cyber threat landscape in Africa.
Hasbini said governments, banks and financial institutions are the top targets in Africa. The top ten active threat actors are Lazarus, DeathStalker, CactusPete, IAmTheKing, Transparent Tribe, StrongPity, Sofacy, CoughingDown, MuddyWater and SixLittleMonkeys.
The most threatened industries by country in South Africa, many of them targeted by Lazarus, were government, fintech, manufacturing, IT companies, mining, telecoms, defence, energy and pharmaceutical.
“Things have been accelerating for a while now in Africa, and we have been keeping a close eye on the situation,” he said.
In line with changing trends around the world, attackers are moving towards new methods, Hasbini said.
“They have expanded beyond Windows type utilities and tools, and are infecting firmware and leveraging mobile implants. We are seeing big game hunting by underground gangs, continued use of naming and shaming, and ‘good enough’ is enough attacks, in which cyber criminals are not deploying additional tools that are not immediately needed. Sometimes this is done with very simple open source tools, which makes tracking them difficult.”
Kaspersky predicted that more countries will start using legal indictments as part of their cyber strategies to protect their critical infrastructure.
Said Hasbini: “Countries have also warned of nation states targeting research facilities – especially Covid-19 related facilities. The emergence of 5G vulnerabilities will become a growing priority as 5G makes connectivity faster but also enables faster attacks.
Kaspersky also expects to see an increase in advanced threat actors buying initial network access from cyber criminals; more money demands, ransomware and blackmail; and more disruptive attacks – with more attacks on critical infrastructure such as power grids, nuclear facilities, chemical plants and water facilities.
The number of threats are increasing and the changes are here to stay, he concluded. “We need to deal with them by using the right regulation, tools, skills and human capital