Trend Micro: Egypt among most vulnerable to cyberattacks in Africa

Global leader in cybersecurity solutions, Trend Micro Incorporated expressed in a recent report its concerns that Egypt is seeing a sustained rise in threat activity.

The company detected a total of 242,411 malwares in the North African country in the last quarter of 2017 alone, up by 25 percent from the third quarter figure of 194,719.

This is the third highest malware threats in the African region, with the biggest figure of 2,289,997 malware files coming from South Africa, followed by Morocco’s 341,279.  The same report revealed that Egypt’s manufacturing sector was the one most affected by malware, followed by education, government, real estate, and technology.

The security experts are urging businesses, individuals, and government entities to be more vigilant against cyberattacks, as the consequences can be devastating, this, according to Noura Hassan, Managing Director of Trend Micro North Africa and Levant.

“Egypt’s ICT sector outlook remains bullish, especially with its ICT 2030 Strategy aiming for a strong digital economy.  The country has high internet penetration with over 30 million users and this will continue to grow with a rapidly-expanding tech-savvy workforce, as well as government-led programmes that are aimed at maximizing the ICT contributions to the economic growth of the country.” Hassan said.

“With all these, we cannot ignore the numerous challenges that lie ahead, primarily the cyberattacks, noting the current threat landscape in Egypt,” she added.

Trend Micro said it is strengthening its efforts to raise awareness on the importance of a layered approach to cybersecurity for Egyptian businesses, even as the security vendor predicts significant rise in threats in the state in 2018.

In the fourth quarter of 2017, Trend Micro blocked 70,612 malicious URLs being accessed by internet users in the country, while in the same period the number of times a malicious URL hosted in Egypt that was blocked by Trend Micro stood at 803.  Also, in the fourth quarter, the number of email threats blocked via sender IP in the state stood at over 27.7 million.

Ransomware is one of the biggest threats today, and Egypt is not immune to this threat. The global total for ransomware threats as of December 2017 is 1.7 billion, and this is the combined ransomware threats, for email, URL and files.  Egypt registered the third highest level of ransomware threats in the African region, behind South Arica and Tunisia.

A worrying concern for Trend Micro, is the rise in the number of online banking malwares in the country. In the fourth quarter of 2017, Trend Micro detected 301 online banking malwares, which is 37 percent higher from third quarter’s 219 malware files.  The number of macro malware, meanwhile, almost doubled from its third-quarter figure reaching 79 in total for the last quarter. Furthermore, mobile app downloads in fourth quarter stood at 274,000 and 1 percent of these were seen to be malicious.

Trend Micro, based on its 2018 Security Predictions report, sees ransomware and digital extortion as cybercrime mainstays for this year.  With this prediction and the growing presence of other malicious threats, it is imperative that companies and individuals rely on the right security software and have adequate security protocols in place to prevent cyberattacks.