Cybercriminals’ ransoms from victims increase by 27.4 per cent


• Mauritius, two other African countries ahead of Nigeria in fight against menace 
Nigeria and 76 other countries have ranked among nations, whose efforts at clipping the wings of cybercriminals are still considered as ‘maturing’.This is according to the United Nation’s arm in charge of global telecommunications, the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), in its 2017 Cybersecurity Index released on Wednesday, obtained by The Guardian.
    
Though the efforts of Nigeria in tackling the menace has been acknowledged globally, it has however shown that more efforts are still required by the country to curb the N127 billion yearly losses to the menace.
   
In the fight against the menace, the UN body divided its 193 member states into three cadres, which are Initiating stage; Maturing stage and the Leading stage.The Initiating stage refers to the 96 countries that have started to make commitments in the fight against cybersecurity; Maturing stage refers to the 77 countries that have developed complex commitments, and engage in cybersecurity programmes and initiatives, while the Leading stage refers to the 21 countries that demonstrate high commitment in all five pillars of the index.

   
Mauritius is the only African countries considered to be fighting the cybercrime menace from all angles and ranked in the ‘Leading stage’.  Rwanda and Kenya are slightly above Nigeria in the Maturing stage.
  
The report showed that between 2016 and now, Cybercriminals, who succeeded in launching attacks on their prey, have increased their ransome payment by 27.4 per cent.ITU in the survey disclosed that ransomware continues to plague businesses and consumers, with indiscriminate campaigns pushing out massive volumes of malicious emails.
  
The UN body stressed that in some cases, organizations can be overwhelmed by the sheer volume of ransomware-laden emails they receive, saying attackers are demanding more and more from victims with the average ransom demand in 2016 rising to $1 077, up from $294 a year earlier.
 
ITU Director, Telecommunication Development Bureau, Brahima Sanou, noted that the scale of cybercrime makes it critical for governments to have a robust cybersecurity ecosystem in place to reduce threats and enhance confidence in using electronic communications and services.

According to ITU, it is therefore clear that there is a direct cause-effect principle between the growth of Information and Communications Technology (ICTs) and their illicit and malicious use.
 
“To counter this effect, cybersecurity is becoming more and more relevant in the minds of countries’ decision makers, and cybersecurity related doctrines have been established in almost all countries in the world. However, there is still an evident gap between countries in terms of awareness, understanding,
knowledge and finally capacity to deploy the proper strategies, capabilities and programmes to ensure a safe and appropriate use of ICTs as enablers for economic development,” ITU stressed.
   
Mauritius, which leads Africa, is in the league of countries which include Australia Japan, Oman, Canada, Korea Russian Federation, United States, Singapore and 12 others.The report claimed that Mauritius scores particularly high in the legal and the technical areas. “The Botnet Tracking and Detection project allows Computer Emergency Response Team of Mauritius (CERT-MU) to proactively take measures to curtail threats on different networks within the country. Capacity building is another area where Mauritius does well. The government IT Security Unit has conducted 180 awareness sessions for some 2 000 civil servants in 32 government ministries and departments,” it stated.
  
The survey observed that Singapore has a near-perfect approach to cybersecurity, but many other rich countries have holes in their defenses and some poorer countries are showing them how it should be done.

  
ITU claimed that wealth breeds cybercrime, but it does not automatically generate cybersecurity, so governments need to make sure they are prepared.“There is still an evident gap between countries in terms of awareness, understanding, knowledge and finally capacity to deploy the proper strategies, capabilities and programmes,” the survey said.
 
The United States came second in the ITU’s Global Cybersecurity Index, but many of the other highly rated countries were small or developing economies.The rest of the top 10 were Malaysia, Oman, Estonia, Mauritius, Australia, Georgia, France and Canada. Russia ranked 11th. India was 25th, one place ahead of Germany, and China was 34th.
 
The ranking was based on countries’ legal, technical and organizational institutions, their educational and research capabilities, and their cooperation in information-sharing networks.“Cybersecurity is an ecosystem where laws, organizations, skills, cooperation and technical implementation need to be in harmony to be most effective,” the survey said.
 

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