South Africa leads the continent in terms of the number of cybersecurity risks identified, according to the report of 2022 Africa Cyberthreat Assessment report from INTERPOL.
The country had 230 million threat detections in total by 2022. Morocco came in second with 71 million people.
219 million of the 230 million detected threats in the country were e-mail-related threats. South Africa also had the largest number of attempted ransomware and enterprise email compromises.
Accenture classified South Africa as having the third greatest number of cybercrime victims worldwide, at a cost of R2.2 billion per year, emphasizing the exploitation of these cyber vulnerabilities within the country.
The country’s degree of cybercrime is further shown by the fact that it had a 100% surge in mobile banking application fraud and is anticipated to suffer 577 malware attacks each hour.
According to the South African Banking Risk Information Centre, “gross fraud losses on South African-issued cards increased by 20.5% from 2018 to 2019” as a result of CNP fraud and banking malware assaults, putting South Africa second only to Russia.
Cryptocurrency scams are another developing worry for South Africa, in which threat actors attempt to defraud victims of their cryptocurrency. South Africa has experienced two large-scale cryptocurrency frauds in the recent year.
The first was a Ponzi scheme in which Mirror Trading International allegedly defrauded thousands of investors out of $588 million in Bitcoin in 2020.
The second instance was Africrypt, a trading company whose founders allegedly stole $3.6 billion from investors in April 2021.
Cryptocurrency scams are very profitable in South Africa, which is one of the top ten nations in the globe where threat actors received the most cryptocurrency from illegitimate addresses.
Aside from investment scams, wallet phishing is a growing threat in the cryptocurrency space, in which threat actors use false or misleading advertisements, imposter domains, fake wallets, or decentralised finance platforms to obtain a victim’s cryptocurrency wallet private keys, allowing them to steal funds from the victim’s account.
According to the research, South Africa was also the country most extensively afflicted by targeted ransomware in the first quarter of 2021, with assaults involving ransomware families such as Crysis, Nefilim, Ryuk, Clop, and Conti.
Egypt was the next most impacted country, with a similar profile of targeted ransomware detection, and Tunisia was the third most affected. Nigeria occupies a tail eighth position in the report
With an internet penetration rate of more than 70%, it appears that the enormous number of South Africans online presents an opportunity for hackers to prey on naïve internet users.