Ethiopia, Cameroon, Tanzania, Zambia ranked among top five countries mostly impacted by ransomware and cryptocurrency mining

Apr 22, 2019


Microsoft has released its 2018 Security Intelligence Report (SIR), the 24th in its volume. Analysis of over 6.5 trillion daily threat signals highlight a 73 percent global decline in malware encounters. It however noticed a rise in crypto mining malware.

From the report, Ethiopia and Cameroon ranked among the top five countries mostly impacted by ransomware. With 0.72 and 0.36 percent ransomeware encounter rates respectively. Whilst Namibia, 0.5%, South Africa, 0.8% and United Arab Emirates, 0.5% are countries with lowest ransomware encounter rates in MEA.

MEA Monthly Average Ransomware Encounter Rates

Microsoft says “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.”

“The five locations with the highest average monthly ransomware encounter rates in 2018 were Ethiopia (0.77 percent average monthly ransomware encounter rate), Mongolia (0 46), Cameroon (0 41), Myanmar (0 33), and Venezuela (0 31), each of which had an average monthly ransomware encounter rate of 0 31 percent or higher during the period.

The locations with the lowest ransomware encounter rates in 2018 were Ireland (0.01), Japan (0.01), the United States (0.02), United Kingdom (0.02), and Sweden (0.02 percent), each of which had an average monthly ransomware encounter rate of 0.02 percent or lower during the same period.”

The 24th edition of the Microsoft Security Intelligence Report showed cryptomining malware as another stealthy threat on the rise.

“The decline in ransomware encounters was due in part to improved detection and education that made it more difficult for attackers to profit from it As a result, attackers began to shift their efforts away from ransomware to approaches such as cryptocurrency mining, which uses victims’ computing resources to make digital money for the attackers.

Mining for cryptocurrency is a lucrative past time for hackers, but it consumes massive computing resources. To overcome this challenge, hackers infect unsuspecting users’ computers with malware so that they can use the collective processing power of all their victims’ machines to mine for coins.

And unlike ransomware, cryptocurrency mining does not require user input – it’s able to work in the background while the user is performing other tasks or is away from their computer. In other words, they won’t necessarily notice its presence at all unless their system’s performance is significantly compromised.”

The Microsoft SIR states that in the “Middle East and Africa, cryptocurrency mining is particularly prevalent. Ethiopia, Tanzania and Zambia account for three of the top five nations most impacted by cryptocurrency mining. With encounter rates well above the global average at 5.58, 1.83 and 1.13 % respectively.”

How can you keep yourself, your family and organization safe from these attacks? Read on how to stay security conscious online.