Internet Security Firms Now Targeting the East African Market


An anticipated upsurge in Internet users in Africa and more specifically the East African region is drawing the attention of cyber security firms. The region is now much more prone to Internet threats and cyber crime.

Kaspersky Lab, for instance, recently established its regional office in Johannesburg, South Africa, to oversee operations in sub-Saharan Africa, and especially in East Africa. According to Garry Kondakov, Kaspersky Lab managing director in charge of Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa, the company hopes to establish a footprint across "this emerging market." The firm, which was founded over a decade ago, commands over six per cent of the endpoint market is to set up a base in Africa. It already has a presence in 25 other countries across five continents.

The move comes hot on the heels of the landing of the fibre optic cable which is projected to intensify Internet activity. Chief security expert at Kaspersky Lab, Costin Raiu, says the Seacom cable will connect a huge part of Africa to India, the United Kingdom, France and United Arab Emirates, thus predisposing it to suspect software.

"Increased bandwidth due to cheaper and faster connections could result in Internet attacks," Mr Raiu said.

A recent survey by Kaspersky Lab found that 30,000 new Internet threats are detected daily. Raiu said the threats have also been reported on legitimate websites -- a trend that has increased drastically since 2007. "From less than 20 threats; the figure has grown to just under 2000," he added.

A 2009 web survey by McAfee titled Mapping the Mal Web found that the letter code at the end of a website address, referred to as the top level domain, determines chances of encountering malware, spam or other threats.

"When registering their websites, cyber criminals look out for low prices, easy registration, lack of regulations or a 'no questions asked' policy," states the report.

The East African