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Mobile threats increasing across Africa

Kaspersky has recommended a number of steps to mitigate mobile cyberthreats. (Image source: Adobe Stock)

According to global cybersecurity and digital privacy company, Kaspersky, threats for mobile devices are growing worldwide with a notable increase across Africa

The company has made this conjecture based on mobile cyberthreat data collected for Q2 2023. This showed that the number of mobile threat for android devices detected and blocked by Kaspersky in the Middle East, Türikye and Africa (META) region increased by 5% compared to the same period last year. Particular spikes were recorded in Nigeria (94%), Kenya (39%) and South Africa (27%). 

Some of the most prevalent threats for African mobiles centred around adware and mobile banking with Kaspersky detecting a notable increase in mobile banking Trojans (used to hunt for data related to online banking and e-payment systems. 

Bethwel Opil, enterprise client lead at Kaspersky in Africa, commented, “As Africa witnesses an upsurge in smartphone adoption, combined with the burgeoning trend of mobile banking, it's imperative to address the inherent cybersecurity challenges that exist.

“The region, with its tech-savvy demographic and dynamic digital landscape, offers a fertile ground for cybercriminals to exploit and our research shows that cybercriminals are doing just that. This underscores the necessity for a forward-thinking and proactive approach to mobile cybersecurity for consumers and businesses alike. From banking malware targeting mobile transactions to ransomware hijacking device data, cybercriminals are continually evolving their tactics. Another cyberattack vector that we see cybercriminals focus on, and particularly in Africa, is outdated software. 

“A considerable number of users in Africa make use of low-end or older mobile devices that may lack the latest security features and updates, making them more susceptible to mobile threats. Against this backdrop, it's not just about implementing cybersecurity solutions on mobile devices but also about educating users on best practices and the rapidly changing threat landscape.”

Kaspersky recommends a number of steps which can be taken to mitigate mobile cyberthreats. These include only downloading apps from official stores; regularly updating operating systems and apps; being cognisant of app permissions; implementing trusted mobile security solutions; avoiding jailbreaking. 

“Mobile cybersecurity isn't merely about deploying security software. It requires a holistic approach, blending technology, user education, and industry collaboration,” concluded Opil. “As we navigate this digital age, Kaspersky is committed to strengthening Africa's mobile cybersecurity landscape, ensuring that users can safely and confidently leverage the power of mobile technology.”

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