Nigeria, others record increase in financial malware – Report

Nigeria witnessed a 32 per cent increase in the financial/banking malware in the second quarter of 2021 when compared to the figures for Q1 2021, according to a report.

In the report, Kaspersky identified ransomware, and crypto-miner malware as other top malware families affecting Nigeria, South Africa, and Kenya.

Kaspersky said there was a 24 per cent increase in ransomware attacks and 14 per cent in crypto-miner malware in Q2 in South Africa. In Kenya, there was a 59 per cent increase in financial/banking trojans in Q2.

The Principal Security Researcher at Kaspersky, David Emm, said, “Generally speaking, and based on our research, Africa has the same hit rate as we would see for other parts of the globe when it comes to cyberattacks and activity.

“This only emphasises that the cyber threat landscape truly does incorporate the whole globe where no continent or country is free of this growing danger and where all consumers, businesses and industries alike need to pay attention to effective cybersecurity measures – and especially during the current pandemic and resultant turbulent times.”

According to the report, not much has changed when it comes to cyberattacks, although the pandemic presented a wealth of opportunities for cybercriminals to use malware to attack.

Emm said, “While the bulk of attacks are still speculative and randomly targeting individuals and businesses, there is a shift happening with the increase of APTs and more strategically targeted based attacks.

“These use continuous, clandestine, and sophisticated hacking techniques to gain access to a system and remain inside for a prolonged period, with potentially destructive consequences. Because of the time and effort required to perpetrate such an attack, these are often levelled at high-value targets, such as nation-states and large businesses.

“Take ransomware as an example. In the beginning, it was very random targeting as many people as possible hoping for a relatively small amount of money paid in ransom. During the past five years, there has been a shift with a decline in the number of ransomware families being developed as well as an overall global decline in attacks.

“However, attackers are now focusing on specific companies and individuals where they can get the maximum benefit. The new approach of ransomware is to expose data, negatively impacting the reputation of a company. To this effect, financial crime has become more sophisticated and organised.”

According to the report, the financial services sector is a top targeted industry in Africa when it comes to cybercriminal activity and cyber threats in light of the digital-first approach the sector is shifting to.

Emm said that it was relatively easy for a hacker to target an individual and capture passcodes, one-time passwords, and install malware on their computers to get financial information.

The report added that financial based malware and cyberattacks were becoming more targeted, complicated, and difficult to prevent, adding that with digital transformation progressing at a rapid rate, there would be no shortage of attack surfaces for cybercriminals to exploit.

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