Cyber Criminals Target East African Governments and Telecoms

By Irene Gaitirira

Patrick Matu, Control Risks' Compliance, Forensics and Cyber expert for East AfricaGovernments are the top target sector for cyber attack in East Africa.

Control Risks, an independent global business risk consultancy lists governments (33%), telecommunications (22%) and financial services (17%) as the most likely targets by cyber criminals in East Africa.

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Advanced Persistent Threat and Criminal Targeted Attacks are the most impactful cyber attack techniques in the region in 2016. The survey shows that cyber crime costs Kenya, East Africa’s largest economy, at least US$23 million annually.

“Despite a growing number of media headlines about US or EU based companies falling victim to a cyber breach,” says Patrick Matu, Control Risks’ Compliance, Forensics and Cyber expert for East Africa, “the lack of obligation in many emerging markets to report on incidents is creating a false illusion that businesses operating in these markets are not subject to cyber attacks. In fact many organisations with bases in these emerging markets are prime targets and seen as the ‘weak underbelly’ when it comes to an organisation’s cyber security.”

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Saying “Cyber security still isn’t given enough priority by business leaders in the region as it’s often seen as an isolated IT problem and not a business issue,” Matu argues that “cyber security needs to be incorporated into the whole business and not left isolated with the IT team.”

Control Risks global business risk consultancy Matu urges businesses to continually review the cyber threat landscape to understand what kinds of threats they might face and adjusting their security measures accordingly.

According to Control Risks, there has been a 42% increase in the number of targeted attacks reported between 2015 and the first two quarters of 2016 around the world.