NAIROBI, Kenya, May 23 – It is slightly past midday, Monday as I write this. Already, there have been 830,072 cyber attacks across the world since day break.
The numbers are projected to rise even further as the day goes by. On Sunday alone for instance, 4,860,901 attacks were carried out across the world, revealing just how at risk the world’s population is to cyber crime.
A Cyber Threat Index by Check Point Software Technologies shows attacks being launched from one corner of the world to the other. No country is truly safe.
“Cyber crime is a real threat. It has actually become a bigger business illegal than selling drugs,” Check Point’s Country Manager Duncan Andenga says while discussing the issue.
Like the rest of the world, Kenya is not immune to cyber crime. According to the cyber security company, Sality, a malicious software that infects files on Microsoft Windows, was for instance behind the country’s major cyber crimes in the last quarter, as it was for the rest of the world.
This was followed by Conficker, a computer worm that also targets Microsoft Windows.
“The third most prevalent malware was hummingbird. This particular software is being used by hackers in Kenya because it works best with mobile phones. And it makes perfect sense. The country has seen the rate of mobile penetration sky rocket and at the same time witnessed the rise of mobile money transactions making it a lucrative target of cyber crime,” Andenga said.
– Who are the attackers especially targeting? –
Security Engineer at Check Point Michael Tumusiime says that financial institutions especially banks are at the highest risk of being attacked. So are online market places.
“Banks, in Kenya and across the world, are among the favourite for hackers to commit cyber crimes. Online banking for instance, makes it easy for hackers to access. This is why physical theft at banks is ceasing as thieves are moving online.”
Figuratively, 2014 saw US$1.3 million (Sh1.3 billion) stolen from banks by online hackers throughout the world.
Tumusiime explains that hackers only need a single entry to compromise a bank account. For instance, by opening an unsafe email attachment, the malware accesses information on the device that may include bank account details found on the device or on email.
Apart from email attachments, Tumusiime also says that email links can also open doors for malware to attack your mobile phone and computer.
Games are not left behind. For instance, popular games such as Angry Birds have been used by hackers whereby they make versions similar to the original game to make malicious software.
“A person may download a game assuming that it is safe, instead, the game ends up infecting your device. Such kind apps will lead to hackers accessing your identity and everything you have saved on your device. This may include sites you view in private, your photos and information about you and your loved ones.”