Cybercrime concerns African mobile users

by Alastair Tempest: CEO at Ecommerce Forum South Africa.
Africa’s mobile users are increasingly concerned about the mobile risks and the potential for digital identity theft, however, this has not stopped them from using their favourite messaging platforms and applications, according to new research carried out by KnowBe4 among over 700 smartphone users in Nigeria, Mauritius, Egypt, SA, Kenya, Ghana, Morocco and Botswana.

The KnowBe4 Mobile Users in Africa survey sought the opinions of Africa’s mobile users on the recent decision by WhatsApp to update their terms and conditions. The survey found that not only did the majority of the respondents across Africa intend to continue using WhatsApp, but also that their favourite alternative to WhatsApp was Facebook Messenger.

Anna Collard, SVP Content Strategy & Evangelist Africa at KnowBe4, says the recent WhatsApp privacy policy has spurred public discussions which resulted in more consumer awareness about their privacy rights as well as brought more visibility to alternative tools such as Signal, Telegram, and others. EFSA plans an event with Ms Collard once the SA Cybersecurity Act is signed into law by the President – details to follow.

Meanwhile, Standard Bank has reported that in the 3 months of 2021 it has already shut down over 5 000 fake websites, and blocked millions of emails created by cyber fraudsters who impersonated the bank in efforts to solicit funds from customers.

SA’s .za domain name registry, (the ZA Central Registry – ZACR) is warning of an increase in the number of international cyber criminals targeting the country. Domains using “” grew by over the 1.25 million during 2020. ZACR has pointed out that increasing connectivity has attracted the online attention of local and international fraudsters. SA remains highly vulnerable to cybercrime, thanks to a lack of effective regulation, failure to cooperate effectively with regulators in other countries and lack of education on the ways used in cybercrime.

Useful resources:
Ecommerce Forum South Africa
It is the goal of the EFSA to increase awareness, confidence and capability of the ecommerce industry in Africa.
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