For the first time ever, cyberattacks have emerged as one of the top three risks impacting the world.
Along with natural disasters and climate change, the Global Risks Report for 2018 indicates that cyberattacks are literally one of the biggest threats we face.

Attacks like last year’s WannaCry are a fifth generation of attacks that affect thousands of enterprises across the world. Gen V, as Check Point has dubbed it, is not only large-scale, but also multi-vector and, in some cases, state-sponsored.

Gen V attacks literally have the power to shut down entire countries – but many businesses in Africa are still operating with security solutions equipped to combat Gen II or Gen III attacks.

“While Gen I attacks targeted standalone PCs and were dealt with by antivirus, Gen II saw the start of network attacks, requiring the introduction of firewalls. Gen III then began exploiting vulnerabilities in applications, which was combatted through intrusion prevention (IPS),” explains Doros Hadjizenonos, Check Point country manager for SADC.

Gen IV attacks focused on polymorphic content and involved hackers sending files embedded with malware. “To prevent this, sandboxing and anti-bot technologies were used,” Hadjizenonos says.

To combat Gen V attacks, however, much more is needed. It’s about prevention (rather than just detection), real-time action and covering the weakest points across cloud and mobile. Siloed security solutions are no longer enough and in order to beat Gen V, businesses need end-to-end security infrastructure which spans everything from data centres to mobile devices.

“We’ve analysed our clients and, while all of them have antivirus and a firewall, very few have the advanced technology needed to survive a Gen V attack,” says Hadjizenonos. “The sad thing is though that the technology to protect against these attacks does exist.”

Comprehensive, end-to-end security is a particularly important focus for government and businesses entities operating in Africa.

African countries rank consistently high on Check Point’s monthly Global Threat Index. Botswana, for example, has topped the Index for two months in a row. Perhaps not surprisingly then, there is a significant appetite across Africa for cybersecurity solutions.

As such, the company has earmarked the continent as an important region for growth and investment. “2018 is the first year in which Africa will be viewed on its own as a territory, rather than forming part of the MEA or EMEA region,” says Hadjizenonos.

Check Point will also place greater focus on countries within the SADC region, where it is busy expanding its team.

Hadjizenonos was formerly country manager for the entire SADC region, but focus for the region has now been split in two. Hadjizenonos will act as country manager for everything outside of South Africa, with Grant Hamilton taking on the role of country manager for South Africa.