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Cybersecurity in Africa: Why Many Are Still Unaware of the Risk

Cyber Security

The digital age has brought about numerous solutions and services that make life easier, but it has also opened up the world to attacks and threats that compromise organizations and individuals. Cybersecurity has become critical for organizations, but many people still feel safe online and believe that cybercrime will not affect them personally. The KnowBe4 Cybersecurity in Africa survey polled 800 employees across multiple sectors in Mauritius, Botswana, Egypt and Ghana to assess their cybersecurity awareness. It discovered that the key issues facing organizations right now were awareness and understanding. Cybersecurity training and awareness programs can help identify criminal tactics and mitigate risk.

The survey found that 97% of respondents use a smartphone, 74% use a laptop, 47% have a smart TV, 31% use a tablet, 17% have a gaming console, 8% use a feature phone, and less than 1% have none of these devices. The most used app across both personal and business use cases is WhatsApp, with email being the most popular form of business communication on the continent. Both platforms are high-risk for cyber threats such as phishing, ransomware, and fraud, so these should be a priority for organizations looking to drive awareness and training.

The survey found that 71% access the internet through their mobile networks, overlapping with the 71% who access the internet through home Wi-Fi, and 36% who go online through work/office networks, while 12% access the internet at internet cafes, and 15% use free Wi-Fi at public places. People do not even know that they can be hacked while they access free Wi-Fi, or that they can have critical information, like passwords, stolen while they are online.

Most respondents are hesitant to give away personal information, with 29% saying they tended not to share personal details such as their addresses and phone numbers online. When it comes to cybersecurity training, many people still are not entirely sure what their roles and responsibilities are around information security. Only 34% of people said they felt ‘very confident’ that they could recognize a security incident if they saw one.

Organizations should invest in training and awareness programs that help their employees identify criminal tactics and mitigate risk. Cybersecurity is a shared responsibility, and everyone should be concerned about cybercrime. All it takes is for one person to introduce a virus to a system, open up a doorway, or lose their passwords, and the entire organization is put at risk. Training has never been more important, especially when there is a clear trend around people feeling like they do not know enough about cybercrime to protect themselves or feel like they do not understand what they need to do to stay informed about the risks.

Read: Cybersecurity Report: Rising digital attacks key concern for IT managers in 2022

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