Head’s up Africa. You’ve Been Phished

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53% of Africans surveyed think that trusting emails from people they know is good enough; 28% have fallen for a phishing email and 50% have had a malware infection; 64% don’t know what ransomware is and yet believe they can easily identify a security threat; 52% don’t know what multi-factor authentication is.

The 2019 KnowBe4 African Report across South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria, Ghana, Egypt, Morocco, Mauritius and Botswana has found that people living on the continent are not prepared for the cyber threat. 65% of respondents across all eight countries are concerned about cybercrime.

They are vulnerable, as they’re not aware of what they don’t know. From ransomware to phishing to malware and credential theft, users are not protecting themselves adequately because they mistakenly think they’re informed, ready and prepared. Around 55% believe that they would recognise a security incident if they saw one.

Head’s up Africa. You’ve Been Phished - Brand Spur

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Of all the countries surveyed, Kenyans (75%) and South Africans (74%) were the most concerned about the risk of cybercrime and yet respondents were comfortable giving away their personal information as long as they understood what it was being used for (Kenyans 26.59% and South Africans 57%). It’s a worrying trend – many phishing scams will use any means necessary to tease out valuable nuggets of personal information and phone calls or emails from so-called ‘trusted sources’ are among the most common methods used.

The Risk of Not Knowing What I Don’t Know
The problem is that most users are not aware of how cybercriminals operate and the tools that they use. More than half of respondents across all eight countries felt very confident that they would recognise a security incident or issue if they saw one, but a significant percentage have had a PC infection, and more than a quarter had fallen for a scam. In South Africa, 50% of respondents had their PCs infected, while in Kenya, Ghana and Egypt, this number rose to 67%.

Head’s up Africa. You’ve Been Phished - Brand Spur

Head’s up Africa. You’ve Been Phished - Brand Spur

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The KnowBe4 survey found that even though nearly half of respondents across all eight countries felt that their organisations had trained them adequately, a quarter of them didn’t know what ransomware was. For South Africans, a worrying 31.5% thought that a cyberthreat that encrypts files and demands payments was a Trojan virus and 26.9% of Kenyans agreed. Egypt and Morocco thought it was a drive-by download, while Ghana thought it was a botnet.

More than 50% of respondents are not aware of what multi-factor authentication is or the benefit thereof. Using stolen credentials was the third most common attack vector used in successful breaches and applying multi-factor authentication, which is combining your password with something that you own, such as a One-Time-Password app on your phone, which reduces this risk significantly.

Head’s up Africa. You’ve Been Phished - Brand Spur

Phishing Still Number One Attack Vector of Successful Data Breaches
Email security is one of the biggest threats facing the average user, both at work and at home, and it is one of the most common communication methods — more than 70% of those surveyed use email to collaborate with friends and colleagues. Most people don’t realise what a risky email looks like or how their actions can result in their systems becoming infected. While more than half of respondents in Botswana, Egypt, Kenya, Ghana, Morocco and Mauritius have enough security smarts to avoid clicking on links or opening attachments they don’t expect, a startling 46% still trusted emails from people they knew. In South Africa, those statistics are completely turned around – more than half of respondents (52%) trust emails from people they know, while only 49.5% don’t open attachments they have not expected.

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Email remains one of the most successful forms of cyber attack today for this very reason. People are quick to click on links or attachments sent to them from people who they know, not realising that cybercriminals have potentially hacked or spoofed (impersonated) their friend’s, colleague’s or suppliers’ systems to spread malware or launch other forms of attacks. Cyber criminals can easily mimic contact lists or use email addresses that look as if they’ve come from trusted institutions, and a simple click can unleash a ransomware attack that can hold an entire company, government or home hostage. According to Verizon’s 2019 Data Breach Report, email phishing is still the number one attack vector used in successful breaches. Closely followed by malware infections and the use of stolen credentials – both of which are attack vectors commonly accomplished via phishing. Phishing and social engineering attacks are not just limited to email – they have spread to other communication channels such as WhatsApp and the phone. With WhatsApp use at more than 90% in Africa, this is a serious concern.

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Phishing Myths
Another myth around phishing scams is that they are badly written with terrible language and rude offers. While these still exist, they are no longer the norm. Cyber criminals have become incredibly sophisticated and prey on this lack of understanding. Across all eight countries, more than a quarter of respondents checked for bad grammar and spelling to determine whether or not an email was legitimate. Interestingly, more than a quarter had also clicked on a phishing email. It turns out that yes, Africa has been phished and will continue to fall prey to this insidious attack unless they recognise the need for training and a deeper understanding of security threats.

When looked at against the backdrop of how often they’ve been caught by a phishing email, it’s clear that users still don’t realise how easily they can fall prey to a well-designed email.

The biggest concern is that this lack of awareness around cybersecurity impacts a person’s life, identity and work. Humans are one of the most common causes of a business being held by ransomware or crippled by malware, data breaches or plain financial fraud. Their inadvertent clicking on an attachment, sharing personal information or carrying an infection into work on their mobile device can cause these types of issues.

People Have the Hots for Public Hotspots
The survey found that more than 90% of respondents used a smartphone and more than 70% used a laptop computer to connect to the internet, using either data from their mobile network (more than 80%) or through their home network. However, more than a quarter of respondents connected their devices to the internet using a free Wi-Fi connection in a public space. This is risky, as cyber criminals make use of public places to trick people into connecting to their malicious hotspot in order to connect to the person’s machine or to steal their information.

Survey Highlights Urgent Need for Security Awareness Training
For organisations, it has become critical that they train employees around security best practices and the various methodologies used by the cyber criminal. People need to stop thinking that phishing and ransomware only happen to other people or big businesses – everyone is vulnerable. One of the reasons why spam continues to rise in quantity is because it works often enough to be of value. According to the September 2019 Cisco Talos Email and Web Reputation Centre report, the average spam volume for the year was 409.51 billion. That’s compared with the paltry 68.90 billion emails that are legitimate. Spam works because somebody always clicks on the link.

Training in cybersecurity threats, methodologies, entry points and vulnerabilities has become critical for the organisation. This not only helps to minimise the growing risk of human error that’s allowing threats to bypass their complex and powerful security systems but helps to protect their employees.

The survey has highlighted the areas that are most vulnerable and where people need the most help in learning about cyber threats. Employee training is definitely one of the most important points – employees are not aware of how their use of free Wi-Fi networks can potentially infect the organisation, nor are they as aware of email and phishing threats as they believe. It’s also important to bust some of the most common security myths. Not all malicious emails are badly written, phishing is sophisticated and clever, and mobile devices can be infected. The most common platforms used by respondents to connect with friends and colleagues were WhatsApp (more than 90%) and email (more than 70%), and both of these platforms have been compromised. Educating users on how to strengthen their password practices by applying multi-factor authentication is another easy step to significantly reduce risks.

Education is key to ensuring that employees are aware of the risks, understand the threats and make more concerted efforts to protect themselves from infection.

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Head’s up Africa. You’ve Been Phished - Brand SpurHead’s up Africa. You’ve Been Phished - Brand Spur

Latest News

Qatar Airways Launches Ferry Transfer Service from Shenzhen Shekou to Hong Kong International Airport

Qatar Airways introduces Upstream Check-in Service in Shenzhen starting from 15 April 2021 to offer greater connectivity in the Greater Bay Area

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Local passengers will have the option to utilise the 30-minutes-long ferry service to fly out of Hong Kong; "Asia's World City" to over 80 destinations in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and the Americas


SHENZHEN & HONG KONG SAR, CHINA - Media OutReach - 12 April 2021 - Qatar Airways today announced the sea-to-air ferry transfer service from Shenzhen Shekou Port to the SkyPier in the airside of Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) starting from 15 April 2021, providing passengers in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (GBA), one of the world's most dynamic mega-regions, convenient access to the airline's global network from "Asia's World City".


Head’s up Africa. You’ve Been Phished - Brand Spur

Partnering with Airport Authority Hong Kong, the introduction of the Upstream Check-in Service will allow Qatar Airways customers in Shenzhen greater flexibility and enhanced travel options to the world from Hong Kong, where the airline operates daily direct service to Doha with its modern and fuel-efficient Airbus A350-900 aircraft that features 36 lie-flat seats in Business Class and 247 seats in Economy Class.

Qatar Airways customers can purchase their ferry tickets from SkyLink or the port's website. Passengers utilising the 30-minutes-long ferry service will be provided with boarding passes and baggage check-through service to their final destinations at the Shenzhen Shekou terminal, where they will also clear their customs and immigration. Upon arrival at SkyPier, customers can proceed directly to their Qatar Airways boarding gate, or enjoy the award-winning duty-free shopping experience and fine-dining options at HKIA before continuing a seamless and hassle-free onward journey with the airline to more than 80 destinations in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and the Americas.

Mr. Thomas Scruby, Qatar Airways Vice President of Sales for Australasia & North Asia, said: "The introduction of ferry transfer service will boost our footprint in the Greater Bay Area by providing our Southern Chinese customers more flexible flying options via HKIA. We know connectivity within the region and to the wider world is critical for the success of the GBA. Therefore, we are excited to do our part to build the infrastructure necessary to make it easier and smoother for local customers to travel despite the disruption caused by the pandemic around the world."

"We are confident in the market's demand and our commitment to the region remains resolute. The next phase of our partnership with Airport Authority Hong Kong will see the ferry transfer service to be further expanded to other key GBA metropolis such as Macau and Dongguan once government restrictions are lifted, allowing even more customers in the region to enjoy the world-class experience that Qatar Airways has to offer."

Premium customers opting for the ferry transfer service can continue to enjoy the luxurious on-ground experience at the Plaza Premium Lounge, conveniently located near Gate 1 at the South Departures Hall in Hong Kong International Airport. Passengers will be able to take advantage of the well-furnished environment with comfortable seating, shower rooms, contactless food ordering service, highspeed Wi-Fi and international TV channels. Privilege Club Gold members and above as well as selected oneworld frequent flyers also enjoy access to The Wing located near Gates 1 - 4, the industry-renowned lounge operated by Cathay Pacific, where guests can recharge, relax, and catch up with work before boarding their Qatar Airways flights.

The Greater Bay area is home to many of the nation's leading universities and academic institutions; the ferry transfer service will also provide more travel choices to the area's students wishing to complete their higher-education or exchange programs abroad. International students will be able to enroll in Qatar Airways Student Club and enjoy a wide range of benefits throughout their educational journey, such as special fares, extra baggage allowances, the flexibility to change the dates of their flight, complimentary Super Wi-Fi onboard, and more. For information about Student Club, visit: https://www.qatarairways.com/en/student-club.html

In addition to the highest safety standards, passengers flying with Qatar Airways will enjoy an even greater range of thoughtfully designed onboard experiences, including locally inspired menus, multi-language entertainment programs within the airline's award-winning IFE system, as well as Cantonese and Mandarin-speaking staff service both onboard and at the airline's five-star hub Hamad International Airport (HIA).

Qatar Airways continues to expand its network of destinations, offering more flights to international destinations than any other airline. By the middle of summer 2021, Qatar Airways' plans to rebuild its network to more than 140 destinations including 23 in Africa, 14 in the Americas, 43 in Asia-Pacific, 43 in Europe and 19 in Middle East. Many cities will be served with a strong schedule with daily or more frequencies.

Qatar Airways has become the first global airline in the world to achieve the prestigious 5-Star COVID-19 Airline Safety Rating by international air transport rating organisation, Skytrax. This follows HIA's recent success as the first airport in the Middle East and Asia to be awarded a Skytrax 5-Star COVID-19 Airport Safety Rating. These recognitions provide assurance to passengers across the world that airline health and safety standards are subject to the highest possible standards of professional, independent scrutiny and assessment. For full details of all the measures that have been implemented onboard and in HIA, please visit qatarairways.com/safety.

A multiple award-winning airline, Qatar Airways was named 'World's Best Airline' by the 2019 World Airline Awards, managed by the international air transport rating organisation Skytrax. It was also named 'Best Airline in the Middle East', 'World's Best Business Class', and 'Best Business Class Seat', in recognition of its ground-breaking Business Class experience, Qsuite. Qsuite is available on flights to more than 45 destinations including Johannesburg, Frankfurt, New York and Singapore.

About Qatar Airways:

A multiple award-winning airline, Qatar Airways was named 'World's Best Airline' by the 2019 World Airline Awards, managed by international air transport rating organisation Skytrax. It was also named 'Best Airline in the Middle East', 'World's Best Business Class' and 'Best Business Class Seat', in recognition of its ground-breaking Business Class experience, Qsuite. Qatar Airways is the only airline to have been awarded the coveted "Skytrax Airline of the Year" title, which is recognised as the pinnacle of excellence in the airline industry, five times.


Hamad International Airport (HIA), the airline's home and hub, was recently ranked "Third Best Airport in the World", among 550 airports worldwide, by the SKYTRAX World Airport Awards 2020. Rising from fourth position in 2019 to third in 2020, HIA has been steadily rising in the 'World's Best Airports' rankings since the start of its operations in 2014. In addition, HIA was voted the 'Best Airport in the Middle East' for the sixth year in a row and 'Best Staff Service in the Middle East' for the fifth year in a row.


Qsuite, a patented Qatar Airways product, features the industry's first-ever double bed in Business Class, as well as privacy panels that stow away, allowing passengers in adjoining seats to create their own private room, a first of its kind in the industry.

Qatar Airways was the first Gulf carrier to join global airline alliance oneworld, enabling its passengers to benefit from more than 1,000 airports in more than 160 countries, with 14,250 daily departures.


Oryx One, Qatar Airways' in-flight entertainment system offers passengers up to 4,000 entertainment options from the latest blockbuster movies, TV box sets, music, games and much more. Passengers flying on Qatar Airways flights served by its B787, B777, A350, A380, A319 and select A320 and A330 aircraft can also stay in touch with their friends and family around the world by using the award-winning airline's on-board Wi-Fi and GSM service.


Qatar Airways proudly supports a range of exciting international and local initiatives dedicated to enriching the global community that it serves. Qatar Airways, the official FIFA partner, is the official sponsor of many top-level sporting events, including the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022TM, reflecting the values of sports as a means of bringing people together, something at the core of the airline's own brand message - Going Places Together.


Qatar Airways Cargo, one of the world's leading international air cargo carriers, serves more than 60 freighter destinations worldwide via its world-class Doha hub and also delivers freight in the belly-hold of passenger aircraft to an extensive global network. The Qatar Airways Cargo fleet includes two Boeing 747-8 freighters and 24 Boeing 777 freighters.


Qatar Executive is the private jet charter division of Qatar Airways Group. Luxury jet services are available for worldwide charter on board the operator's wholly-owned business jet fleet. Qatar Executive is the launch customer for Gulfstream's G700, the world's first commercial service operator of the Gulfstream G500 and largest commercial operator of the G650ER worldwide. Qatar Executive's service portfolio also includes aircraft management, maintenance and Fixed Based Operator services.

Head’s up Africa. You’ve Been Phished - Brand Spur
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