Sub-Saharan Africa is growing faster in digital transformations than anywhere else in the world today, with over 56 million Internet users – or 4 out of every 10 Africans using the internet on a daily basis. This rapid digital adoption is transforming Africa in meaningful ways, with one example that Africa now leads the world in mobile financial services. Banking has grown rapidly, from traditional paper-based transactions to mobile banking in recent years.
This has transformed the way consumers conduct their finances and interact with financial institutions. This transformation has also brought new recognition to the financial world, with over half of the 282 mobile money services operating worldwide located in Sub-Saharan Africa. In fact, Africa boasts the most widely used mobile payment system in the world, M-Pesa. Accordingly, Sub-Saharan Africa’s (SSA) banking systems have evolved to include Internet-based transactions using mobile devices and online banking systems.
However, because Africa leads the world in mobile banking, African banks are also one of the biggest targets for cybercriminals. The financial sector, including banks and other financial institutions, experiences 300 percent more cyber attacks than any other industry. Not only is Africa facing an aging infrastructure problem, the number of bad actors doing bad things just keeps growing.
Sub-Saharan Africa has been labelled “a new cybercrime harbor” because of inadequate protection of, and increased cyber threats to, its computer and telephone networks (ICT) infrastructure resulting from the availability of fast Internet access, a growing number of Internet users, and weak cybercrime laws. The implications reach far beyond geographical or political borders. In 2019 cyber-thieves successfully attacked major cities, governments, businesses, hospitals, and schools in Africa. At the end of 2019, the city of Johannesburg, Africa was mulling over whether or not to pay $30,000 in Bitcoin to hackers. In Nigeria, cybercriminals are using mobile devices to carry out advance-fee fraud, which involves communication via Short Message Service text messages, phone calls, or email messages to trick victims into sharing banking details and other personal information.
Yet, banks depend on trust and reputation to acquire new customers and increase the products that existing customers use. Customers trust financial institutions to safeguard their money, records, and information. When a financial institution’s systems are compromised, the institution faces reputational and economic costs, including refunds for the losses their customers incur following an attack on the institution’s networks.
Even worse, banks are at a disadvantage because the methods cybercriminals use to attack the infrastructure of financial institutions constantly evolves. This is the advantage that Techolution brings – we specialize in helping banks and other industries protect their infrastructure, their data, and their reputation. We offer protection in depth, from exterior hackability scores to internal penetration tests and security scans, to a best-in-class cyber security managed services.
In the next five years, Sub-Saharan Africa will become more populous, youthful, urban, mobile, educated, and networked. A growing population of educated and urban youth will strengthen existing trends of digital experiences from ecommerce to education. And they will need to be able to trust financial institutions to safeguard their money, records, and information in order for Africa to continue to outpace the rest of the world in growth. Techolution is a trusted partner to Sub Saharan African banks to ensure it does.