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The extent of targeted cyber attacks across Africa revealed

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Jenna Delport
Jenna Delport
I’m a tech writer, world traveller, avocado-eater and dog lover, not always in that order.

On Monday, 11 November 2019, Kaspersky released statistics drawn from its Advanced Persistent Threat reporting service. Since the start of 2018, the global cybersecurity company has kept a close eye on the META region for APT attacks, working on 29 investigative cases across Africa. These statistics provide an overview of the countries and sectors that were most targeted by APT.

APT investigation statistics.

According to the company, the META region has always been a hotbed for such targeted attacks due to the geopolitical situation and the last couple of years have been no different. It is not shocking to note that the greater number of APT attacks investigated by Kaspersky were primarily seen in national agencies.

Government institutions bore the brunt with 61 cases reported over the last two years. Diplomatic institutions came in next on the list with 49 reports. (Military and Defence institutions) and (Financial and investment) institutions with 31 and 33 reports unveiled respectively.

Other targeted sectors on the list include Telecommunications, Energy, IT companies, Political parties, Educational institutions, INGOs, Media and Healthcare. These sectors are attacked far less than governmental institutions, but it is still a cause for concern.

The African region saw relatively less targeted attacks when measured up against Middle Eastern countries and Turkey. Kaspersky examined 5 cases from Kenya and Ethiopia respectively and 4 each from South Africa, Morocco, Tanzania and Libya. Sudan had the least number of attacks totalling to a mere 3.

Amin Hasbini, Head of the Global Research & Analysis Team at Kaspersky, says, “It is clear from our investigations, that APT attacks in the META region are showing no signs of slow down. Simultaneously, APT attacks are becoming further difficult to detect and the more we hunt, the more we uncover.”

Advanced Persistent Threats (APT) attacks as the names suggest are ongoing threats that are active for years on end. Evaluating these attacks allows cybersecurity teams to make connections and try to measure the motivation behind why these attacks took place. It also helps teams to calculate what the attacker’s next moves could be and accordingly take the necessary steps to protect themselves against future incidents.

Edited by Jenna Cook

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