While we know the internet has interconnected the entire world, cyber threats are often seen as a first-world problem; however, new data and information reinforces the notion that business, particularly African and South African businesses, are extremely vulnerable to cyber crime.
According to a recent report, the loss to African businesses from cybercrime stood at US$3.5bn, up from US$2bn in 2016. Nigeria was the hardest hit with losses of US$649m, followed by Kenya at US$210m and Tanzania at US$99m. Attacks range from simple email scams to large-scale theft of customer data using malware, ransom attacks and disinformation or fake news.
This has been attributed to a lack of experts to combat sophisticated cyber-attackers across the continent.
Kenyatta University – Suspended Naomi Chepkemoi after her grades were altered from D to A. The school alleged that the results were altered using a staff member’s password.
Jeffrey Sila Ndungi was arrested in the US for attempting to sell a forged Treasury Cheque for over $370k to a federal agent. He was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment in the US. It later emerged that Sila was being monitored for hacking activities had a pending criminal case in which he was accused of hacking Multichoice and distributing DSTV signals in Kenya and Nigeria.
National Bank of Kenya admitted in January 2018 that its systems had been hacked and about Ksh. 29 Million lost.
So, what can we do?
Blockchain technology and smart contracts in the era of e-commerce are helping fight data breaches across Africa.
What does this mean, though? Well, while blockchain can be tricky to explain, it essentially allows for a smart contract to be developed. This will allow a computer protocol to digitally facilitate, verify, or enforce the negotiation or performance of a transaction between two people or entities, technically alleviating the risk of some shady dealings. Smart contracts are cheap since they eliminate the need for third parties such as lawyers, and they are also relatively easy to execute.
Another huge consideration for Africa is the high-use of mobile devices when utilising apps, websites, and other services. This phenomenon creates an urgent need for service providers, like banks and telecommunication providers, to develop robust systems to protect their customers against fraud and personal data breaches.
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