Nigeria issues cyber danger alert following Sudan attacks
Nigeria upped its cyber security alert level last week following attacks by a Sudanese hacker group, according to the country's national IT agency.
The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) issued a warning to the country, stating that a hacktivist group targeting critical digital infrastructure had been discovered by its computer emergency readiness and response team.
According to NITDA, Anonymous Sudan, a hacker group renowned for conducting politically and religiously driven cyber-attacks, has set its eyes on Nigeria's critical digital infrastructure, raising serious worries.
"Their primary strategy entails targeting government digital services, with a focus on distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks. Their track record includes successful attacks in a number of nations, establishing their standing as a credible threat," according to NITDA.
It added: “NITDA hereby alerts the general public to be wary of the occurrence of these attacks, which underscores the undeniable and concerning fact that cyber-attacks are not a distant threat but rather a looming danger that resides much closer that we have previously acknowledged.”
As a result, NITDA said, this realisation compels Nigeria to recognise the urgency of reinforcing its cyber security and fortify digital defenses.
This warning was followed by an allegation that MTN Nigeria, the country's largest telecom firm, had been the target of a cyberattack.
MTN had neither acknowledged nor disputed the occurrence, although the company's network remained operational.
The group's allegation that it targeted MTN is similar to the technique it used in Kenya, where it attacked Safaricom, Kenya's largest telco, recently.
Anonymous Sudan targeted Kenyan digital services. The gang claimed responsibility for a series of DDoS attacks against Kenyan media, hospitals, universities, and companies.
Motive for the attack
Anonymous Sudan warned Africa's largest economy last week on its Telegram channel that planned attacks were prompted by Nigeria's potential military intervention in Niger.
"We claim full responsibility for this attack because of Nigeria's government actions against Niger," it stated in a post on its Telegram channel.
"They are attempting to cut power and are willing to participate in the French colonialist planned invasion of Niger." In support of this, Nigeria stopped Niger's electricity supply on Wednesday, the first of several sanctions imposed on the country.
The sanctions are in retaliation to the army's ouster of Niger's President Mohamed Bazoum.
ECOWAS, backed by Nigerian President Bola Tinubu, has requested the coup plotters to reinstall Bazoum within a week—a deadline that expired on Sunday. ECOWAS has stated that military action to restore constitutional order is being considered.
The attacks on Kenya and Nigeria follow several warnings from experts that African countries are rapidly becoming focal locations for cyber threats.
According to the most recent Kaspersky Security Network data, the continent is represented significantly in the worldwide top 100 for online dangers, with Kenya placed 35th, Nigeria 50th, and South Africa 82nd.
Backdoor and spyware attacks were the most common threat kinds in South Africa in the first quarter of 2023, according to Kaspersky, with 106,000 attack attempts.
Similar attack attempts totaled 46,000 in Nigeria, while the same attacks peaked at 143,000 in Kenya.
According to Liquid C2's latest cyber security research, 'The Evolving Cyber Security Landscape in Africa 2022,' cyber-attacks on firms in Kenya, South Africa, and Zambia surged last year.
According to the survey, such attacks increased by 82% in Kenyan firms, 62% in South African enterprises, and 62% in Zambian businesses.