Cybercrime: No Longer Exclusive to First World Countries, See Africa

In TrendMicro’s report last December, 3 Reasons Why Africa Will be the New Haven for Cybercriminals, they’ve tackled how cybercrimes are no longer a thing for first world countries as third world countries like Africa, is now a safe playground for cyber fiends, given the fact that they have lax cybercrime laws.

If you’re wondering why Africa, it’s because of these facts:

First, Africa has great Internet availability and fast connections.  Right now, their internet infrastructures are supported by undersea cables and they are able to offer 3G, 4G LTE, dial-up, DSL, fiber and even satellite connection.

Second, rapid user growth.  As the whole world becomes more connected, Africa is not getting left behind, especially with social networks making the use of internet more enticing.  There’s just this magical feeling of knowing that you can connect to almost anyone in the wold just by signing up for a Facebook account.

In a report from IDG last October, though they’ve stated that internet penetration in Africa is far lower than in the US, 29 percent in Nigeria and 14 percent in South Africa as compared to 78 percent in the US, the penetration is growing fast.  Nigeria is expected to have 70 million Internet users by 2015, up from just 45 million in 2012.

Cybercrimes aren’t confined to using personal computers anymore, and many of are already aware of the fact that malicious authors have infiltrated mobile devices.  And this could pose a huge problem for Egypt who has 20 million Internet users and 112 percent mobile phone penetration

Third, as I’ve mentioned earlier, cyberlaws aren’t strict in Africa and in some countries, they are non-existent.  So yeah, Africa is a sweet haven for people with dastardly deeds.  It’s also a factor that African businesses were late to invest in cyber security and they are lacking skilled IT professionals to deal with these kinds of tech matters.

So what types of cybercrimes can the good people of Africa expect?  Well, there’s the good old fashioned phishing scam wherein they are enticed to click on a malicious link where their personal informations can be obtained by a malware injected to their system when they visit the site.  Then someone could pull a fast one on them like what happened in China wherein the notorious Nitol virus came pre-installed in PCs and upon Microsoft’s investigation, found out that 3322.org, a Chinese-registered web hosting company,  housed more than 70,000 malicious web domains that contained malware that was designed to infect computers and steal personal data.

Or they could face a cyber-gangster, like the one in Russia, who has been recruiting hackers to help him hit banks in America in an operation called “Project Blitzkrieg.”  The Russian cyber-gangster who goes by the name Thief-in-Law bragged that he has already pilfered $5 million dollars using a banking Trojan,  “Gozi Prinimalka”, designed to exploit a significant lack of anti-fraud elements in the US banking system.

As I’ve mentioned above, Africa is quite late in entering the cyber security age so you can expect that their banks would be quite easy to hit, provided that they’ve gone digital and have their system connected to the internet.  If not, then I guess their banks are safe, except for traditional robbers.

About Mellisa Tolentino

Mellisa Tolentino started at SiliconANGLE covering the mobile and social scene. Over the years, her scope expanded to Bitcoin as well as the Internet of Things. SiliconANGLE gave Mellisa her break in writing and it has been an adventure ever since. She’s from the sunny country of Philippines where people always greet you with the warmest smile. If she’s not busy writing, she loves reading, watching TV series and movies, but what she enjoys the most is playing or just chilling on the couch with with her three dogs Ceecee, Ginger, and Rocky.