Over the past several years, Russia and China have been considered the world’s top cybercrime capitals, but a new haven for hackers and spammers might surpass these criminal cyber-hotspots in the near future. Statistics show that cybercrime is growing at a faster rate in Africa than it is on any other continent. In addition, according to recent estimates, 80 percent of PCs there are infected with malware. With the installation of broadband internet cables (currently underway), one expert argues that the likelihood of cybercrime in Africa going global at a high rate is a legitimate concern.
In a recent article, titled “Foreign Policy: Africa’s Internet Threat,” Franz-Stefan Gady argues that the faster connections brought by new broadband cables will allow larger amounts of infected data to be transferred both in and out of the continent. Combine this with the fact that Africa is home to the “world’s most vulnerable computers,” and you’re left with the possibility that these PCs are susceptible to botnets that could attack the network infrastructures of countries throughout the world. The author of the article describes the worst-case scenario as follows:
“Here’s how the most alarming scheme could work. From a central hub, computers across the continent could be taken over, often without the knowledge of their owners, and set up to forward transmissions (including spam or viruses) to other computers online. These new zombie computers, or “bots” (as in robots), serve the wishes of some master spam or virus originator.”
Even if you don’t think that the challenge of cybersecurity in Africa is quite so desperate, as the author of this opposing article argues, there’s no doubt that the rate of cybercrime continues to rise throughout the world. Any type of proactive planning for potential cyberattacks is necessary to combat cyberenemies who are sure to become more powerful in the years to come.