Africa features significantly in the latest Global Threat Impact Index released for May 2017, by Check Point Software Technologies Limited, of which out of the top 10 countries, five are African.
Zambia has the highest risk profile, with Nigeria in second position. Uganda, Malawi and South African are ranked 7th, 8th and 9th respectively. South Africa, in particular, demonstrated a significant jump in ranking, having moved up from 22nd position since last month. The Index also revealed that more than one in four organisations globally was affected by the Fireball or WannaCry attacks during May. Two of the top three malware families that impacted networks globally were zero-day, previously unseen attacks. Fireball impacted one in five organisations worldwide, with second-placed RoughTed impacting 16 per cent and third-placed WannaCry affecting nearly eight per cent of organisations globally. The two malware variants, Fireball, and WannaCry, rapidly spread worldwide throughout the month of May. The most prevalent malware highlight the wide range of attack vectors and targets cyber-criminals are utilising, impacting all stages of the infection chain. Fireball takes over target browsers and turns them into zombies, which it can then use for a wide range of actions including dropping additional malware, or stealing valuable credentials. By contrast, RoughTed is a large-scale malvertising campaign, and WannaCry takes advantage of a Windows SMB exploit called EternalBlue in order to propagate within and between networks. WannaCry was particularly high profile, bringing down a myriad of networks worldwide.
In addition to the top three, there were also other new variants of malware seen within the top 10 of the index including Jaff (8th) another form of ransomware, demonstrating how profitable this particular attack vector is proving for malicious parties. Area Manager for East and West Africa at Check Point Software Technologies, Rick Rogers, noted that to see so many brand-new malware families among the world’s most prevalent cyber attacks this month underlines just how innovative cybercriminals can be, and shows how dangerous it is for organisations to become complacent. According to him, “Organisations need to remember that the financial impact from cyber- attacks goes way beyond the initial incident. Restoring key services and repairing reputational damage can be a very long and expensive process. “As such, organisations in every industry sector need a multi-layered approach to their cybersecurity. Our SandBlast Zero-Day Protection and Mobile Threat Prevention, for example, protect against the widest range of continually evolving attack types, and also protect against zero-day malware variants.”