Cybersecurity firm Surfshark has conducted a research into cybersecurity on the continent where it raised serious concerns about data breaches with Nigeria leading the continent with a staggering 64% surge in breach incidents during the first quarter of 2023.
The findings shed light on the growing cybersecurity challenges individuals and organisations face in Africa, particularly in Nigeria.
At the global scene, Surfshark’s analysis ranks Nigeria as the 32nd most breached country worldwide from January to March 2023 (Q1’2023), underscoring the urgent need for enhanced cybersecurity measures in the region.
During the first quarter of 2023 alone, a total of 82,000 accounts were compromised in Nigeria, representing a significant 46% increase compared to the previous quarter (Q4’2022).
Globally, a concerning 41.6 million user accounts were breached in the same period, reflecting the pervasive nature of the issue. However, the focus remains on the implications for Nigeria among its Africa peers, where the data breach rate is growing at an alarming pace.
The findings highlighted the urgent need for individuals and organisations on the continent, particularly Nigeria, to prioritise cybersecurity and protect sensitive information. As data breaches continue to rise, cybercriminals capitalise on compromised data, utilising it for various malicious activities, including phishing attacks, fraud, identity theft, and other serious cybercrimes.
In Africa, Nigeria stands at the forefront of the data breach challenge, urging stakeholders to take immediate action. The consequences of compromised personal information can be devastating, as individuals become more susceptible to cyber threats and their personal and financial well-being is put at risk.
Surfshark’s study underscored the importance of strengthening cybersecurity infrastructure and implementing robust security measures across various sectors in in Africa.
Prioritising Data Protection and Raising Awareness
By prioritising data protection and raising awareness about cybersecurity best practices, individuals and organisations can mitigate the risks posed by data breaches and safeguard the interests of the entire population on the continent.
As the continent grapples with the increasing threat of data breaches, it is crucial for government agencies, businesses, and individuals to collaborate and invest in cybersecurity solutions. By fostering a culture of cybersecurity awareness and resilience, the continent, for that matter Nigeria, can fortify its digital ecosystem and protect its citizens from the growing menace of cybercrime.
The past couple of years have seen rapid growth in the demand for internet access across Africa. As in the rest of the world, the pandemic extended its grip into all corners of the continent, and more people than ever were forced to work remotely. This resulted in more people than ever connecting to the internet – 43% of the total African population of 1.37 billion, according to the InternetWorldStats.
Unfortunately, weak networks and a lack of robust cybersecurity policies and enforcement, coupled with explosive demand for access and services, present a ripe target for cybercriminals. The cost implications are dramatic. Kenyan cybersecurity company Serianu estimated that the cost to African GDP (gross domestic product) was in the region of US$4.1 billion in 2021.
In view of the foregoing, it seems clear that reports of data breaches and hacks will continue to emerge, but there are also very strong indications that African data security and cyber-responses to crime are growing in sophistication and are increasingly able to respond in ways that minimize the threat and allow companies and individuals to conduct more and more of their online business securely.
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