Why are some nations more susceptible than others when it comes to online criminal activity? According to experts at CyberCon Africa, it’s due to the fact that Africa is struggling to keep up with technology.
“Most attacks launched towards Africa are actually coming from the US, because we are struggling here to keep things secure. The attackers target the markets that have the lowest work factor involved, and Africa is easier to breach,” said David Isiavwe, chairperson of the Information Security Society of Nigeria.
One way to solve the problem, according to Isiavwe, is to keep systems continuously updated so that breaches and hacks can be uncovered a lot quicker.
“The faster the breach is detected, the quicker we can solve the problem and the less impact it will have on a company or economy – but I don’t think that we are doing that right now. We definitely need to improve on that,” adds Isiavwe.
Another factor that comes into play is that the laws are either not in place at all, or just insufficient.
“There is no fear of being caught, because people aren’t being punished. If there are stiff penalties, cybercriminals would think twice about attacking us,” he explained.
Christopher Goode, a member of the US Secret Service based in Pretoria, echoed the same sentiment, but added that government forces and international organisations should be working together:
“There needs to be better cooperation between federal, state and the countries that are affected by cybercrime. But also, one of the biggest problems is corruption in governments across the world. We can’t work with those countries to fight cybercrime as we can’t trust them.”
Goode also mentioned that extradition rights between nations need to be sharpened up, so that cybercriminals can be brought to book in the correct countries. Because even if they do get caught, Goode’s concern revolves around the face that the laws in some African countries are either non-existent or inaccurate when it comes to cybercrime.
“The laws are not accurate at all. If you rob a bank in real life, you will get a very lengthy sentence. But if you rob a bank online, you only get a smack on the head. Even if [cybercriminals] do get caught eventually, to go through the legal process will take forever”, Goode concludes.