#ITWebSS2021: Assessing security risks in Africa
Countries across Africa are becoming popular targets of bad actors, with expensive consequences.
In October last year, a major breach that compromised Uganda’s mobile money network thrust its telecoms and banking sectors into crisis. The hack was a result of a security breach on payment services aggregator, Pegasus Technologies, which, according to a statement by MTN Uganda, mostly affected bank-to-mobile wallet transfers. At least $3.2 million is thought to have been purloined in this incident, although some reports claimed the figure was much higher.
In June the same year, the Ethiopian Information Network Security Agency (INSA) foiled an attack by an Egypt-based bad actor dubbed Cyber_Horus Group. The INSA said the aim of the attack was to create significant “economic, psychological, and political pressure on Ethiopia” over the filling of the Nile River’s Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).
In January 2020, Kaspersky warned that its researchers had flagged thousands of notifications of attacks on major banks in sub-Saharan Africa. The malware deployed in the attacks indicated the threat more than likely stemmed from the infamous Silence hacking group, that was responsible for stealing of millions of dollars from banks across the world.
All these incidents highlight the growing significance of cyber threats to African national security. A wide range of malefactors are targeting the continent, from lone-wolf attackers to major nation-states, all of whom have different capabilities and motivations.
However, African governments and security sector players are lagging behind when it comes to identifying and responding to the ways in which digital technology is impacting on security across the continent.
Abdul-Hakeem Ajijola, chair of the African Union Cyber Security Expert Group, will be presenting an international keynote address on “Assessing security risks in Africa”, at the ITWeb Security Summit 2021, to be held as a virtual event from 1 to 3 June.
Ajijola is ranked #1 on the IFSEC 2020 Global Cybersecurity Professionals’ Influencers and Thought Leaders list. He is the chairman of Consultancy Support Services, a cyber security, e-library and information communication technology policy firm in Nigeria. He is working to kick-start the development of an African cyber security economic subsector, employing thousands of knowledge workers below 35 years of age, who will profitably drive cyber security solution value chains.
During his keynote on day two of the Summit, Ajijola will unpack where Africa sits amid all the current macro-economic changes, and will discuss cultural and technological differences between what happens in Africa and the rest of the world.
In addition, he will give delegates an understanding of the implications for Africa as the developed world moves to occupy Africa in terms of IT.
Finally, he will reveal where the pockets of IT excellence in Africa are, particularly with regards to security, and how African technology is enabling business on the continent.