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ICT4D Week 2018

Thursday, April 05, 2018

Africa under threat: Gen II security can’t save your company from Gen V cyberattack

Companies simply aren’t equipped to handle fifth-generation cyberattacks. It’s particularly concerning for businesses in Africa – where many countries top the Global Threat Index. This is a significant part of the reason why Check Point is giving the region its undivided attention
For the first time ever, cyberattacks have emerged as one of the top three risks impacting the world. Along with natural disasters and climate change, the Global Risks Report for 2018, tells us cyberattacks are literally one of the biggest threats we face.

It’s hardly surprising when one considers the scale and might of attacks like WannaCry, which affected thousands of enterprises across the world. This fifth generation of attacks, or Gen V as Check Point has dubbed it, is not only large-scale, but also multi-vector and even in some cases, state-sponsored.

Gen V attacks literally have the power to shut down entire countries. And the scariest part is that the average business in Africa is still operating with security solutions equipped to combat more simple Gen II or III attacks.

“While Gen I attacks targeted standalone PCs and were dealt with by antivirus, Gen II saw the start of network attacks, requiring the introduction of firewalls. Gen III then began exploiting vulnerabilities in applications, which was combatted through Intrusion Prevention (IPS),” explains Rick Rogers, Regional Director, Africa at Check Point.

Gen IV attacks focused on polymorphic content and involved hackers sending files embedded with malware. “To prevent this sandboxing and anti-bot technologies were used,” Rogers says.

Not equipped for Gen V
But now to combat Gen V attacks, much more is needed. It’s about prevention (rather than just detection), real-time action and covering the weakest points across cloud and mobile. Siloed security solutions are no longer enough and in order to beat Gen 5, businesses need end-to-end security infrastructure which spans everything from data centres to mobile devices.

“We’ve analysed our clients and while all of them have antivirus and a firewall, very few have the advanced technology needed to survive a Gen V attack,” says Rogers. “The sad thing is though that the technology to protect against these attacks does exist.”

Check Point’s Gen V Protection against Mega Attacks is a case in point. The technology consolidates all of the isolated security solutions which businesses already have in place and covers those touch points which are lacking.

Africa under threat
This level of comprehensive, end-to-end security is a particularly important focus for government and businesses entities operating in Africa. African countries rank consistently high on Check Point’s monthly Global Threat Index. Botswana, for example, has topped the Index for two months in a row.
Perhaps not surprisingly then, there is a significant appetite across Africa for cybersecurity solutions.

Taking on new territory
As such, the company has earmarked the continent as an important region for growth and investment. “2018 is the first year in which Africa will be viewed on its own as a territory, rather than forming part of the MEA or EMEA region,” says Rogers.

Not only is this a highly positive development from an employment and investment perspective, but it also means that clients of the company will have far greater access to the Check Point team and direct services required for more complex security projects.

New tech 
Hackers are exploiting the fact that most organisations rely on older generations of security. As the sophistication and scale of attacks grows, so previous generations of security, which merely offer detection, become less and less effective.

With every successful advancement of malicious activity, a new generation of IT security has been born. Organisations now need advanced real-time threat prevention that protects all networks, virtual, cloud, remote office and mobile operations against the latest generation of cyberattacks.

The need for local businesses to partner with security specialists that can help them remain one step ahead of the game is essential. Check Point is committed to ensuring that organisations have access to a security solution that delivers unprecedented protection against current and potential attacks. Cue Check Point Infinity, a revolutionary security consumption model that enables enterprises to prevent Gen V cyberattacks.

Given the pace at which the cyber security industry operates, remaining future-focused is key. Consequently, as Check Point rolls out Gen V security prevention, it is already focused on the next wave of attacks.
Bring on Gen VI.


Rick Rogers, Regional Director for Africa at Check Point Software Limited.

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