A 2012 report by a cyber security company named Symantec has ranked Nigeria 69th on the list of countries linked with malicious Internet activities globally.
Symantec Corporation, a major Internet security solution provider in the world, on Monday, said its Internet Security Threat Report, Volume 18, found Nigeria to have moved down by 10 favourable steps from its 2011 rankings.
The 2011 version of the same report said Nigeria ranked number 59 in the world for malicious activities. According to the latest report, Nigeria ranks 7th on the African continent while Egypt occupies the number one position on the list of 30 countries whose Internet security threat profiles were monitored in Africa.
South Africa, Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, Mauritius occupied the second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth position respectively. Kenya, Sudan, Ghana, Cameroon and Ethiopia made the eighth, ninth, tenth and eleventh position while Rwanda, Djibouti and Burkina Faso ranked 28th, 29th and 30th in the list.
With the way the ranking works, a country high up on the list is one with the greatest cyber security threat.
The Internet Security Threat Report provides an overview and analysis of the year in global threat activity. The report is based on data from the Symantec Global Intelligence Network, which its analysts uses to identify, analyse, and provide commentary on emerging trends in the dynamic threat landscape.
The report revealed a 42 per cent surge during 2012 in targeted attacks, compared to the previous year and warned that consumers remain vulnerable to ransomware and mobile threats, particularly on the Android platform.
It said Android’s market share, its open platform and the multiple distribution methods
available to distribute malicious apps, make it the go-to platform for attackers.
The report found out that mobile malware put consumers and businesses at risk, noting that in 2012, mobile malware increased by 58 per cent, and 32 per cent of all mobile threats attempted to steal information, such as e-mail addresses and phone numbers.
Territory Manager, Indian Ocean Islands, West and Central Africa, Symantec, Sheldon Hand, in a note attached to the report, raised the alarm that cyber criminals were not resting on their oars but devising new ways to perpetrate cyber crimes.
“This year’s ISTR shows that cybercriminals aren’t slowing down, and they continue to devise new ways to steal information from organisations of all sizes. The sophistication of attacks, coupled with today’s IT complexities, such as virtualisation, mobility and cloud, require organisations to remain proactive and use ‘defense in depth’ security measures to stay ahead of attacks,” Hand said.
The report said the number of phishing sites spoofing social networking sites increased by 125 per cent, adding that Web-based attacks increased by 30 per cent. It said 5,291 out of new vulnerabilities discovered in 2012, 415 of them were on mobile operating systems.
The report also found out that the manufacturing sector and knowledge workers have become primary targets of cyber attacks unlike before when governments of nations were singularly aimed for attacks. In a bid to steal intellectual property, targeted cyber-espionage attacks are increasingly hitting the manufacturing sector, as well as small businesses, which are the targets of 31 per cent of these attacks.
It said, “Shifting from governments, manufacturing has moved to the top of the list of industries targeted for attacks in 2012. Often by going after manufacturing companies in the supply chain, attackers gain access to sensitive information of a larger company.
“In addition, in 2012 the most commonly targeted victims of these types of attacks were knowledge workers (27 per cent) with access to intellectual property and those in sales (24 per cent).”
The report further explained that targeted attacks on businesses with fewer than 250 employees are increasing. It said small businesses are now the target of 31 per cent of all attacks, a threefold increase from 2011.
“While small businesses may feel they are immune to targeted attacks, cybercriminals are enticed by these organisations’ bank account information, customer data, intellectual property and the knowledge that they often lack adequate security practices and infrastructure,” it added.