How Africa is increasingly being targeted by cybercriminals

By Marie Toulemonde
Posted on Wednesday, 8 December 2021 09:28

The number of cyberattacks on the continent is exploding. Experts warn that drastic measures need to be taken. Which countries are most affected? What is the scale and cost of this threat? We reveal the answer through infographics.

Is Africa more heavily targeted by cybercrime than other continents? Interpol certainly thinks so. The figures gathered by the international police organisation, which published a detailed report on the subject on 21 October, are indisputable. Throughout the course of 2020, the number of cyberattacks recorded in certain regions more than doubled. In East Africa, the increase was as much as 55%, and across the continent as a whole, they are estimated to have cost a modest sum of $4.1bn. In Côte d’Ivoire alone, cybercrime has cost 20bn CFA francs (about $35m).

Unfortunately, Africa is a prime target due to its young and ultra-connected population, the widespread use of mobile phone banking and, above all, its serious cybersecurity deficiencies. These attacks are becoming more and more sophisticated and are being carried out by increasingly professional and organised cybercriminals. The continent as a whole is a major hotbed of cyber scammers.

Risk of “digital chaos”

This observation was made last June during the Cyber Africa Forum held in Abidjan. African and international cybersecurity experts who gathered for the event warned governments and international institutions that the continent will plunge into what they called “digital chaos,” if nothing is done. The stakes are even higher because the figures – including those mentioned in the Interpol report – are likely to be greatly underestimated.

Which countries are most affected? Which countries have the highest concentration of organised crime? What are their methods? Who do they target? We have it all mapped out for you here:

Understand Africa's tomorrow... today

We believe that Africa is poorly represented, and badly under-estimated. Beyond the vast opportunity manifest in African markets, we highlight people who make a difference; leaders turning the tide, youth driving change, and an indefatigable business community. That is what we believe will change the continent, and that is what we report on. With hard-hitting investigations, innovative analysis and deep dives into countries and sectors, The Africa Report delivers the insight you need.

View subscription options