Check Point Raises the Alarm over Increased Cyber Attacks

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Emma Okonji

Check Point Software Technologies, a global cybersecurity vendor, providing industry-leading solutions on cyber attacks, has raised the consciousness of Nigerians to the growing rate of global cyber attacks.

According to the software security solution vendor, quarterly analysis of the global threat index by Check Point Software Technologies, revealed deep disparities in the threat environments in Africa, and the potential for increased attacks as cyber-criminals now target mobile devices.

The Country Manager, Check Point, Mr. Rommy Okonkwo, who disclosed the continuous rise in cyber attacks, at a press conference in Lagos, said there was need to raise the consciousness of Nigerians over such attack. According to him, most organisations are either ignorant of the cyber threats in their business environment, or have refused to implement the full software solution that would detect and prevent cyber attacks.

Analysing the current trend in cyber attacks at the end of the first quarter of 2016, Okonkwo said Nigeria was ranked16th highest country, that are vulnerable to cyber attacks, moving up two places from 18th position in the preceding quarter. Developing and African nations are highly represented in the upper rankings of the index, and Nigeria was surpassed by a handful of other African countries, including Namibia and Malawi. Kenya improved their ranking by 24 places, moving from 45th position at the end of 2015, to 69th at the end of the quarter.

The Index is based on threat intelligence drawn from Check Point’s ThreatCloud World Cyber Threat Map, which tracks how and where cyber attacks are taking place worldwide in real time.

Area Manager for East and West Africa at Check Point Software Technologies, Rick Rogers, said Nigeria’s worsening ranking may be due to a dramatic increase in threats targeting mobile devices specifically, while Kenya’s improvement could reflect a growing maturity in security awareness.

“It’s not immediately clear why the East and West African hubs are experiencing such different moves in terms of cyber-attacks, and we are generally seeing a lot of volatility month to month for many of the countries on the index. But this quarter, mobile malware ranked as one of the ten most prevalent attack types affecting corporate networks and devices for the first time ever,” Rogers said.

Check Point identified more than 1,500 different malware families during January, 1,400 in February and 1,300 in March. Throughout the quarter, the Conficker and Sality families were two of the most commonly used malware variants in the quarter, with Sality ranking first in both Nigeria and Kenya.

In order to address cyber attacks globally, Check Point said it has developed several security solutions from a multiplayer approach that would detect and prevent hacking.

Lead Consulting Engineer for Middle East and Africa at Check Point, Mr. Justice Anyai, said organisations in Nigeria must wake up to the challenge by investing in software solutions that address cyber attacks.

He said every 24 hours, a host is assessing organisaton’s data, and every 34 seconds, unknown malware are downloaded from various sites, while in every one minute, a bot communicates with its command and control centre, thereby exposing systems to high cyber risks. He therefore called on organisations to take cyber threat very seriously, to avoid being victim of the increased global cyber attacks.