African cybersecurity concerns extend to energy and financial systems – – ESI Africa


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The African cybersecurity landscape is attracting more and more attention, both good and bad.

The continent remains a point of investment interest as connectivity and mobility grow. With only 38% of Africa’s population connected to the internet, a massive business opportunity exists when compared to the more connected developed markets.

But, it is not only investors who are interested in African FinTech and telco spaces, but also cybercriminals.

Anna Collard, SVP Content Strategy and Evangelist at KnowBe4 Africa: “Considering that nearly half of the world’s 1.2 billion people registered for mobile money are based in sub-Saharan Africa, and that 63% of the mobile dollar value is spent in this region, it makes sense that it has become a hot zone for investors and cybercriminals alike.”

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Most African countries do not have adequate cybercrime regulations in place and face significant skills shortages. A low level of general awareness means most consumers do not know how to ensure that their online behaviour is secure and smart.

“Another issue is that a significant number of African businesses operate without basic cybersecurity controls in place,” says Collard. “This makes them all ripe for the picking. A recent study undertaken by [British based soft/hardware security company] Sophos found that 58% of South African organisations experienced an increase in cyberattacks since the pandemic and KnowBe4’s September 21 survey showed that 32% suffered a ransomware attack. What is also a concern is that identity fraud has seen a 337% increase over the past two years.”

African cybersecurity must also look to energy utilities

Add to this the recent SABRIC report that underscored the growing threats of social engineering across online and mobile banking, and a complex and worrying picture emerges. The statistics, across the board, point to a consistent increase in attack numbers and sophistication.

They also draw a red line under Africa – 2022 needs to be the year when the continent ramps up its cybersecurity efforts to protect citizens and economies.

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Future cybersecurity considerations of the energy sector for Africa

The COVID-19 pandemic prompted major changes in how business is conducted across the continent. It massively accelerated digitalisation trends that were already underway before the crises, across Africa’s financial structures and energy utilities.

Operational Technology (OT) Leaders continue to face cybersecurity challenges as they shift to work from home due to the pandemic that has accelerated IT-OT network convergence. This accelerated digital transformation puts OT Organisations at increased risk of cyber-attacks.

To find out more on the topic of cybersecurity, log into Future cybersecurity considerations of the energy sector for Africa. Listen to Matthew Taljaard, subject matter expert on operational technology cybersecurity at Fortinet, explain how the Fortinet Security Fabric can enable the energy sector.

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