Nigeria has been listed among the top 20 most attacked countries in the world by cyber criminals in December 2015 based on threat intelligence drawn from Check Point Software Technologies ThreatCloud World Cyber Threat Map, which tracks how and where cyber attacks are taking place worldwide in real time.
Six African countries appeared among the top 20 most-attacked nations (out of 142). These include Malawi (6), Cameroon (8), Tunisia (11), Mauritius (12), Botswana (13) and Nigeria (17). Kenya appears at number 44 while South Africa dropped from 63rd position in November to 67th in December.
Check Point also revealed that the risk of an organisation being infected by malware increased by 17 per cent in December, while the number of active malware families increased by 25 per cent. It identified more than 1,500 different active malware families during December, up from 1,200 in the previous month.
The trend highlights the rising threat levels that businesses face in protecting their networks. As with previous months, Conficker remained the most prevalent malware type, accounting for 25 per cent of all known attacks, second-placed Sality, accounted for nine per cent of attacks.
Conficker, and the third-placed Necurs variant, focus on disabling security services to create more vulnerabilities in the network, enabling them to be compromised further and used for launching DDoS and spam attacks. The top ten malware families accounted for 60 per cent of the total recognised attacks in December.
Doros Hadjizenonos, country manager of Check Point South Africa, said “The fact that malware is entering South African organisations through infected devices and compromised websites makes it even more crucial that businesses use threat extraction and sandboxing tools to remove malware before it enters the network. Equally important is fostering a culture of security among staff, as humans are often the weakest link in the security chain.
“Rather than just blocking staff from accessing certain websites, for example, they should be told why they are being blocked and what could happen if they choose to access the website anyway. The increase in active malware during December highlights the severity of the threat posed to organisations’ networks and sensitive data.
“As a result, organisations should be pushing cyber-security to the top of their agendas for 2016, as cyber-criminals continually find new ways to attack networks, so that they can be equally relentless in robustly securing their networks,” said Hadjizenonos.
Check Point’s research also revealed the most prevalent mobile malware during December 2015, and once again attacks against Android devices were significantly more common than attacks against iOS. The top three mobile malware were Xinyin, AndroRAT and Ztorg.