How African Banks Can Secure Systems from Cyber Attacks

what African banks can do to secure systems from cyber attacks

African banks and the entrepreneurship sector is experiencing quick growth, courtesy of the high rate of growth in technological innovations. Rise of computerised systems and mobile phones have made things easier and fast. In as much as the digital era is here, different challenges have resulted. In the year 2016, according to Serianu report, “cybercriminals employed very strong cyberattack targeting 10 organizations in banking, insurance, utilities and governments across 3 countries in Africa.” This resulted in a loss of a total of $206 million in 2016. Also, at least 19 organizations in Kenya have fallen victim of the global hacks.

Why are banks vulnerable?

The financial institutions have a high risk of cyber attacks due to the sensitivity of the business they conduct. Did you know that this is mostly because of their nature of making payments? Therefore, it is important for banks and other financial institutions to secure systems. This will protect them from cyber-attacks. The banking sector does not only face the problem of theft and fraud of the physical assets but also “theft” of critical users information. In order for banks to ensure that they are free from cybercrimes, it is important that they uphold tight security measures.

How the stealing is happening

Criminal activities have changed. They no longer involve stealing of money by visiting the banks several times to master the operations. Today the criminals have devised smart moves to steal identities. This is simply referred to as identity theft.

In essence, the thief will just visit a bank outlet to withdraw a little amount of cash. While there, they just interfere with the systems. In just a while, they have manipulated the system to access important data and details. This aids them in their criminal endeavours. These attackers just employ smart tactics that enable them to steal details of the bank. The attackers are usually common users of the bank. Or the workers themselves who have the details needed to access the data like passwords, account numbers and full names of the customers.

Protection of customer details

Cases of huge amounts of money being siphoned out of business accounts as well as individual accounts have been rampant. Efforts have been made by banks to safeguard the assets of the bank customers. The problem arises when many financial institutions invest in growth and making their product/brand know. This is at the expense of investing in cybersecurity, a major threat to banking in this digital age. The losses that are associated with banks fraud from cyberattacks are countless. In fact, statistics show that African banks lose huge lumps of money to this but they conceal the numbers. This is in order to maintain their customers’ confidence.


If African banks are committed to investing a good fortune in cybersecurity, then the cyber attacks will reduce altogether. It is also important for banks to come up with systems that protect the data of the customers so that identity theft has no chance of happening. There are banks which have devised systems that store the customer data in 4 different parts.

They also make sure they have used intelligence in the account numbers, for example instead of storing a digit as “7”, they would store it as “4+3”. In this case, if a hacker manages to hack one part of the system, they are unable to access the full details they would need to make their plots complete. They would still need to hack the other three which would be impossible since they are always in a hurry to walk away. Coming up with infrastructures that help track any form of malware is not enough because the staff need to be taught how to use these systems.

Related: Africa’s Top Technology Advancements


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