Crypto in Africa: Launch of rand to BTC trading and fraud alerts hits SA

Crypto in Africa: hackers target Africa as SA crypto community grows

Many have been eyeing the crypto space in Africa. Some are looking to invest in the continent while others are using the growing market to target unsuspecting individuals. 

African countries targeted for ransomware and cryptomining attacks

Cryptomining and ransomware attacks continue to cost companies millions in funds across the globe. While attacks hack different systems, a recent report shows that African companies are at a high risk of these attacks.

According to the report by Microsoft, some African countries are more vulnerable than others. Countries like Ethiopia, Cameroon, Zambia, and Tanzania do not have secure systems to prevent hackers’ from accessing their systems. Ethiopia has an encounter rate of 5.58%, Tanzania 1.83%, and Zambia has 1.13%. However, some have managed to keep their systems secure. These include South Africa and Namibia. Asian countries within the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have also managed to keep the systems safe.

While presenting their finding during its 2018 Security Intelligence Report (SIR), Microsoft explained that it had analyzed over 6.5 trillion “daily threats signals” to combine the report. Microsoft revealed the signals painted a welcome picture of a 73% decline in ransomware attacks.

Ransomware seems to be decreasing because of the stress and potential cost that come with completing the entire process. The attack involves sending malicious malware to employees and vital individual computers as attachments in phishing emails. Once they open the email, hackers gain to use the access gained to lock down the company network. This can be the entire system or areas with sensitive data.

According to Microsoft:

“Low ransomware encounter rate countries are known to communicate with their citizens about basic security. Countries with lowest ransomware encounter rates also have mature cybersecurity infrastructures and well-established programmes for protecting critical infrastructure.”

Reportedly, countries least affected by ransomware attacks in 2018 were Japan (0.01), Ireland (0.01), the United States (0.02), Sweden (0.02 percent) and United Kingdom (0.02).

As ransomware attack decline, hackers have reportedly turned to cryptomining malware. Cryptominning malware is more preferred as it can run for a long time undetected. The malware works differently from ransomware malware. It prevents the company’s system from shutting down thus proving power 24/7 to mine cryptocurrency.

Crypto on the rise in South Africa

The South African crypto community has been a leading example for other countries in Africa. Recent reports indicate that South Africa is emerging as an innovator in real-world crypto use.

The Global Digital Report 2019, recently ranked South Africa as the top country for ownership of cryptocurrency. The reports stated that South Africa has about 10.7 percent of internet users owning cryptocurrencies.

The adoption of cryptocurrencies should not come as a surprise. The South African government has supported crypto and blockchain activities in the region. In addition, crypto seems to be the long-awaited savior for the mostly unbanked population in the country.  

Earlier this year, the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) issued a consultation policy paper that has many proposals for the crypto space in the country. Among the proposals in the policy paper, include leaving crypto-assets without legal tender status. Reportedly, the paper also proposes a review of the existing crypto framework. The bank stated:

“The phased approach, starting with the registration requirement, could lead to formal authorization and designation as a registered/licensed provider for crypto asset services operating in South Africa at a later stage.”

Tito Mboweni, the South African finance minister, told the public that:

“It is anticipated that, following broad industry comment and participation, the crypto assets regulatory working group will be ready to release a final research paper on the subject during 2019.”

As the government joins the crypto movement, many startups have also enabled faster adoption of cryptocurrency. For instance, a South African crypto exchange DoshEX partnered with PundiX to roll-out PundiX’s Point-of-Sale (PoS) payments system across the country.

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