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Email, data breaches top the list of cyber threats to African businesses

Email-linked threats and data breaches are considered to be the most serious cyber security threats to businesses in Africa, most notably to those in Kenya, South Africa and Zimbabwe.

This is according to Liquid Intelligent Technologies, which released the findings of its Cyber Security Report 2021 today.

In an overview of the threat landscape across these markets, South African and Zimbabwean businesses have indicated that email threats – specifically ransomware and malware – is a major threat, while their Kenyan counterparts have singled out data breaches.

The research shows that 74% of South African businesses regard email attacks like phishing and spam as the biggest threat, and in Zimbabwe 71% share the same concern.

In Kenya 71% of businesses indicated that it was data breach (i.e. data extortion, data leakage and data disclosure) that represented the biggest cyber security threat.

“It is clear that Africa has a long way to go in terms of cyber security. Specifically in Africa there is a need to improve laws and regulations, and overall cybersecurity by having more safeguards and security controls in place,” said Ignus de Villiers, Head of Cyber Security, Liquid Intelligent Technologies, South Africa.

De Villiers stressed the impact of ransomware, malware, email and phishing, identity theft, data breaches and denial of service attacks on businesses. He said cyber security should be a prominent part of any business conversation around risk and compliance.

According to de Villiers organisations must at least make sure they have the baseline security controls in place, including that configurations are effectively done, vulnerability management and password protection.

Technology solutions alone cannot do the job, they require that users leverage the native security capabilities within the solution, de Villiers explained.

“Having a cyber security framework is very important and the reason for that is to make sure you continuously improve the learning information management system and that you have security controls that provide resiliency,” he added.

These controls enable users to identify vulnerabilities and pick up threats before they are able to damage the system. It’s all about protection, de Villiers continued.

Cloud service vulnerability

The use of cloud services has also added to cyber security vulnerability in Africa. Liquid’s research showed that this vulnerability extends to various markets.

In South Africa, 68% mentioned managing user access to information as a top security concern around cloud-based services, with 61%referring to data loss and recovery, and 51% the lack of skilled professionals and managed security services by service providers. 

In Kenya and Zimbabwe, businesses view these aspects, along with data breaches, malware and ransomware, and social engineering among the most serious cloud-based threats.

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