“Risk is the currency for Cyber Security”

Posted on May 13, 2015 12:07 am

According to a Cyber security expert I spoke to recently,Watering Hole is the leading type of cyber attack in Sub Saharan Africa.It is a cyber-attack strategy in which the target is a particular group like a region, industry or organization. In a familiar case in South Africa, the attacker guessed and observed which a certain organization websites the group used most often and infected several of them with malware.Another common Cyber attack in Sandboxing: According to the expert, sandboxing is like a landmine and in a case that he’s been handling in South Africa, the suspicious code was isolated in a virtual detonation chamber and did what it was intended to do. The difference though is that the sandbox is completely isolated from network and applications so if the code is malware, it’s not going to do any harm to real environment. Once the code is extracted and installed in the sandbox, it’s easy to examine the damage it intended to do. If it is assessed as a threat, the malware is quarantined and eventually blocked from entering the network.Also Phishing is becoming common in East African region. It is an attempt to obtain financial or other confidential information by sending a target an e-mail that looks as if it came from a legitimate organization and is mostly linked to a fake website that replicates the real one.

Listening to new trends about cyber protection demands that stakeholders rethink what customers want from Internet security, move away from the product spin and change the potential customers’ mindset by presenting them with a worst-case scenario when their organization’s systems are hacked.Vendors and partners from Sub Saharan Africa recently gathered to discuss cyber security.Many agreed that experts should ensure that they and potential customers learn from each other’s failures.Astonishing statistics revealed that there is an average of 350,000 hacking attempts taking place around the world every minute and on average security companies that handle online threats can manage to process 70 million cyber threats every minute. On Android phones,there are well close to two million attacks per week across the world and it wont get any better as there’s a lot of activity and it’s the predictive elements of security that count instead of simply being reactive.One participant said predicting the threat, updating threat real-time, and having anti-virus experts who can reverse engineer the attack and figure out what hackers are trying to do is the first solution.In cyber security, it’s imperative to try and beat the attackers before they get into the game and hence the need to be predictive and preventive, as well as networking with organizations such as Interpol.

In African countries, cyber security experts see the threat that those mandated by law don’t see and don’t share everything, but both have a goal to team up to fight the bad guys. In Kenya, the bad guys have on several occasions taken down servers.To predict, prevent, detect and remediate are thus important to Cyber security companies and experts.Experts also revealed that it’s not easy to convince mid-size firms in Sub Saharan Africa that they need competent Internet security protection and solutions, adding that the level of awareness about Internet security is still not up there with developed economies. Technology is changing rather rapidly and creating awareness about security requires education.More than half of participants revealed that their clients mainly come from the government sector, though estimates shows that less than half of the country’s medium-size firms have any external Internet protection services from companies.An expert from South Africa pointed out that multi-function protection for small firms is necessary and requires the ability to readily provide support or change products in a timely fashion. On the positive side though, the African market can still grow, though market size lags behind other parts of the World. With attackers getting more sophisticated, the business of keeping online safer will only get tougher.

Contador Harrison