Africa increases cybersecurity efforts

Cheaper Internet access and a rise in e-commerce has resulted in an increase in cybercrime

Availability of affordable connectivity and an increase in online criminal activity has pushed many African countries to ramp up cybersecurity efforts.

African countries have recently suffered an increase in phishing scams, malware, advance-fee scams (commonly known as Nigerian 411 scams) and mobile-money related fraud, according to industry insiders.

"Connectivity has significantly improved in many African countries and the rate of online criminal activity has gone up, leading to better awareness among top managers and people allocating budgets," said Steve Santorelli, director of global outreach at Team Cymru, an Internet security research firm.

At the Africa Internet Summit this week, Santorelli showcased some of the work Team Cymru does with Internet Exchange Points, providing data on infected machines that allow IXPs and Computer Emergency Response Teams (CERTs) to coordinate with ISPs and clean up affected machines.

"We are about data sharing -- we supply information on affected machines and help with post processing of data to show where the vulnerabilities and command controls are; this is not a commercial activity, no money changes hands," added Santorelli.

Africa's cybersecurity movement has gained momentum with the formation of Africa CERT, a body that coordinates the reporting and response to cases of malicious malware or criminal activity.. Currently, 11 countries have set up CERT teams that coordinate and report security threats. The countries involved are South Africa, Kenya, Burkina Faso, Tunisia, Morocco, Cameroon, Sudan, Egypt, Ghana, Mauritius and Ivory Coast.

Ivory Coast has passed laws related to cybersecurity and data protection and in 2012, the national CERT received 1,892 incidence reports that were investigated in conjunction with the authorities. As a result, 71 arrests were made and 51 people were convicted of security-related crimes.

The national CERT in Ivory coast conducts audits of government websites and works with the national information security sector to identify ways to help the ICT community in the country.

South Africa is probably the most advanced in e-commerce market in the region, which also means that it has witnessed the highest number of phishing scams and fraud. Since 2002, South Africa has passed legislation to safeguard the public against online criminal activity.

"For the longest time, South Africa was number three in phishing activity, behind U.S.A. and the U.K.; this is not a government problem, it's everyone's problem and there is need for coronation to protect critical internet infrastructure," said Palesa Legoze, a director at the department of communication, South Africa.

According to a Team Cymru study, Africa computer devices have a 5 percent infection rate, compared to 10 percent in Europe. African network managers are expected to continue to hone security, improving resiliency to DDoS attacks, and will push for public awareness on online security, Santorelli said.

Join the CSO newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Team Cymrusecurity

More about CERT Australia

Show Comments

Featured Whitepapers

Editor's Recommendations

Solution Centres

Stories by Rebecca Wanjiku

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