According to Kaspersky, research on mobile cyber threat dynamics in Q2 2023, threats for mobile devices are growing worldwide. In particular, the number of mobile threats for Android devices detected and blocked by Kaspersky in the Middle East, Turkey, and Africa (META) region increased by 5 per cent in Q2 2023 when compared to the same period last year. Given the ubiquity of mobile devices in Africa, recording such an increase is a cause for concern.
Among the most prevalent mobile threats that were detected in Africa are adware and mobile banking threats. The Kaspersky report indicates substantial adware detections in Q2 2023, with a spike of 94 per cent in Nigeria, 39 per cent in Kenya and 27 per cent in South Africa. There was also a notable increase in the detections of mobile banking trojans in Q2 2023, which are used to hunt for data related to online banking and e-payment systems.
“As Africa witnesses an upsurge in smartphone adoption, combined with the burgeoning trend of mobile banking, it’s imperative to address the inherent cybersecurity challenges that exist,” says Bethwel Opil, Enterprise Client Lead, Kaspersky Africa.
“The region, with its tech-savvy demographic and dynamic digital landscape, offers a fertile ground for cybercriminals to exploit and our research shows that cybercriminals are doing just that. This underscores the necessity for a forward-thinking and proactive approach to mobile cybersecurity for consumers and businesses alike. From banking malware targeting mobile transactions to ransomware hijacking device data, cybercriminals are continually evolving their tactics,” he noted.
Another cyberattack vector that we see cybercriminals focus on, and particularly in Africa, is outdated software.
“A considerable number of users in Africa make use of low-end or older mobile devices that may lack the latest security features and updates, making them more susceptible to mobile threats. Against this backdrop, it’s not just about implementing cybersecurity solutions on mobile devices but also about educating users on best practices and the rapidly changing threat landscape.”
To mitigate against mobile cyber threats
- Download apps only from official stores like the Apple AppStore or Google Play.
- Regularly update operating systems and apps.
- Be cognisant of app permissions (access to camera, microphone, photos, contacts, etc.).
- Implement a trusted mobile security solution.
- Avoiding jailbreaking or rooting devices to benefit from automatic security updates.
“Mobile cybersecurity,” concludes Opil, “Isn’t merely about deploying security software. It requires a holistic approach, blending technology, user education, and industry collaboration.”