The South African

SA, Kenya and Nigeria report highest cyber attacks in Africa

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Kaspersky Security Solutions highlighted approximately 28 million malware attack in a recent report, and 102 million detections of potentially unwanted programs since the beginning of August 2020.

Cyber attacks in Africa during 2020

In most of these cases, users might not even know what they’ve fallen victim to a malware attack. The report also mentions “grey zone programmes” which “grow in popularity and disturb their experiences”.

“Potentially unwanted applications (PUAs) are programs that are usually not considered to be malicious by themselves. However, they are generally influencing user experience in a negative way”.

What are Potentially unwanted applications (PUAs)

Kaspersky explains that “adware fills user device with ads [such as] aggressive monetising software propagates unrequested paid offers”. At times, various other malicious applications could be downloaded onto the device.

Researchers who calculated interim results of threat landscape activity in Africa noticed that Potentially Unwanted Application (PUA) attacks occur four times more than traditional malware.

The report shows that malware would attack 415 000 South African users for seven months during 2020, while approximately 736 000 potentially unwanted applications were noted.

Evaluating results over the same 7-month period in Nigeria, there were 3.8 million malware attacks and 16.8 million PUA detections. Kenyan and South African threat landscapes have been even more intense.

“In South Africa, there were almost 10 million malware attacks and a staggering 43 million PUA detections. Kenyan users faced even more malware attacks – around 14 million, and 41 million PUA appearances”.

Grey zone software growing in popularity

Unfortunately, Kaspersky concludes that potentially unwanted applications are “more widespread but also more potent than traditional malware”.

Denis Parinov, a security researcher at Kaspersky, explains that grey zone software is growing in popularity. It’s harder to detect at first, and most grey zone software wouldn’t considered as cyber activity even when detected.

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

Parinov adds that this is the reason why “many security solutions, including [Kaspersky], flags such programs to make sure users are aware of its presence, influence on their device and activity”.

Malware pre-installed on devices

As reported by Business Daily Africa, Upstream data indicated that “more than 19.2 million suspicious transactions were recorded from the more than 200 000 devices”.

 The Upstream showed that thousands of low-cost devices made by Tecno – a Chinese mobile phone manufacturer based in Shenzhen – ship[ped infected with pre-installed malware.

Geoffrey Cleaves, the head of Secure-D at Upstream said this type of malware threat “takes advantage of those most vulnerable”. Cleaves concludes:

“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”.

Also read – Africa is under cyber attack — Here’s why we need more awareness and training



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