North African countries hit hard by security threats on continent, Symantec says

Small businesses are increasingly targeted

Four North African countries and South Africa top the list of 30 nations on the continent in Symantec's rankings for security risks on the Web, in a regional breakout of the security company's 2013 Internet Security Threat Report.

In order, the rankings for the top five countries that got hit with the greatest number of Internet security threats in 2012 were Egypt, South Africa, Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria.

Nigeria, the most populous country in Africa, is in seventh place, while Rwanda, Djibouti and Burkina Faso grace the last positions.

The report, based on data from Symantec's Global Intelligence Network, which the company's analysts use to identify, analyze and provide commentary on emerging trends in the dynamic threat landscape, said there was a 42 percent surge during 2012 in targeted attacks worldwide compared to 2011.

"While the manufacturing industry has become the main target accounting for 24 percent of attacks, we also saw a wide range of companies coming under attack, not only large businesses, but increasingly SMBs as well," Symantec said. "In 2011, 18 percent of targeted attacks were aimed at companies with fewer than 250 employees, but by the end of 2012, they accounted for 31 percent," the report states.

Topping the malicious code ranking in 2012 for Africa are Egypt, South Africa, Algeria and Nigeria, and Tunisia, while South Africa, Morocco and Algeria top the African countries ranking in 2012 for phishing attacks.

"This year's ISTR shows that cybercriminals aren't slowing down, and they continue to devise new ways to steal information from organizations of all sizes," said Sheldon Hand, Symantec's territory manager for the Indian Ocean Islands, West and Central Africa, in a release. "The sophistication of attacks coupled with today's IT complexities, such as virtualization, mobility and cloud, require organizations to remain proactive and use 'defense in depth' security measures to stay ahead of attacks."

The ISTR noted that online criminals and spammers are less interested in email as an infection vector than they used to be "because social media is becoming so popular and it gives them many new ways to steal people's identities or personal information and infect their computers with malware."

However, as spammers move to social media, the report says, email spam volumes declined for the second year in a row, dropping from 75 percent of all email in 2011 to 69 percent in 2012. Email phishing rates also declined from one in 299 emails in 2011 to one in 414 in 2012.

The report said that in 2012, 50 percent of all targeted attacks were aimed at businesses with fewer than 2,500 employees, with the largest growth area being businesses with fewer than 250 employees. Undiscovered targeted attacks can collect years of emails, files and contact information. In addition, 2012 saw a 58 percent increase in mobile malware families compared to 2011, thus accounting for 59 percent of all malware to date.



Join the CSO newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags symantecsecurityinternet

More about SymantecWest

Show Comments

Featured Whitepapers

Editor's Recommendations

Solution Centres

Stories by Olusegun Abolaji Ogundeji

Latest Videos

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: The Human Factor - Your people are your biggest security weakness

    ​Speakers: David Lacey, Researcher and former CISO Royal Mail David Turner - Global Risk Management Expert Mark Guntrip - Group Manager, Email Protection, Proofpoint

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Current ransomware defences are failing – but machine learning can drive a more proactive solution

    Speakers • Ty Miller, Director, Threat Intelligence • Mark Gregory, Leader, Network Engineering Research Group, RMIT • Jeff Lanza, Retired FBI Agent (USA) • Andy Solterbeck, VP Asia Pacific, Cylance • David Braue, CSO MC/Moderator What to expect: ​Hear from industry experts on the local and global ransomware threat landscape. Explore a new approach to dealing with ransomware using machine-learning techniques and by thinking about the problem in a fundamentally different way. Apply techniques for gathering insight into ransomware behaviour and find out what elements must go into a truly effective ransomware defence. Get a first-hand look at how ransomware actually works in practice, and how machine-learning techniques can pick up on its activities long before your employees do.

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Get real about metadata to avoid a false sense of security

    Speakers: • Anthony Caruana – CSO MC and moderator • Ian Farquhar, Worldwide Virtual Security Team Lead, Gigamon • John Lindsay, Former CTO, iiNet • Skeeve Stevens, Futurist, Future Sumo • David Vaile - Vice chair of APF, Co-Convenor of the Cyberspace Law And Policy Community, UNSW Law Faculty This webinar covers: - A 101 on metadata - what it is and how to use it - Insight into a typical attack, what happens and what we would find when looking into the metadata - How to collect metadata, use this to detect attacks and get greater insight into how you can use this to protect your organisation - Learn how much raw data and metadata to retain and how long for - Get a reality check on how you're using your metadata and if this is enough to secure your organisation

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them Featuring: • John Baird, Director of Global Technology Production, Deutsche Bank • Samantha Macleod, GM Cyber Security, ME Bank • Sherrod DeGrippo, Director of Emerging Threats, Proofpoint (USA)

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    IDG Live Webinar:The right collaboration strategy will help your business take flight

    Speakers - Mike Harris, Engineering Services Manager, Jetstar - Christopher Johnson, IT Director APAC, 20th Century Fox - Brent Maxwell, Director of Information Systems, THE ICONIC - IDG MC/Moderator Anthony Caruana

    Play Video

More videos

Blog Posts

Market Place