Microsoft has warned that cybercriminals are using Operational Technology (OT) as gateways into an organisation’s network.

This comes at a time Internet of Things (IoT), connections in the region are growing with the Global System for Mobile Communications Association (GSMA) said 1.1 billion IoT connections are expected by 2025 in Middle East and North Africa (MENA).

It’s this growth in OT and IoT that has given cybercriminals more opportunities to breach an organisation’s network, according to Microsoft’s Cyber Signals latest report.

The latest edition discovered that converging IT, IoT and OT systems pose a wider risk to critical infrastructure.

The report is a regular cyberthreat intelligence brief spotlighting security trends and insights gathered from Microsoft’s 65 trillion daily security signals and 8,500 security experts.

For CIOs in the Middle East and Africa (MEA), the impact of a possible security breach is top of mind in a complex threat environment. This can be seen in the 11.2 percent rise in cybersecurity spending in MENA last year.

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The growing rate of digital transformation within the African region is facilitating the emergence of new attack vectors and opportunities for cybercriminals.

A report said that for Nigerian CIOs, the consequences of a possible security breach are their number one concern as they look to navigate an increasingly complex threat and regulatory landscape.

This is according to the Enterprise Security Trends in Nigeria survey, conducted by the IDC and commissioned by Microsoft.

Nigerian organisations realise the importance of developing a proactive approach to security. The IDC survey revealed that 72 per cent of organisations in Nigeria have increased security budgets by 10 per cent or more in the last few years.

Speaking on the new report during a webinar, Ola Williams, Country Manager for Microsof Nigeria and Ghana, said the increase in digital transformation across the region has enabled organisations to manage their buildings, emergency systems and access control with smart devices connected to a network.


“In addition, we have seen an increase in IoT devices in the workplace to better enable hybrid work such as smart conference rooms with microphones and cameras.

“As the threat landscape continues to expand and become more complex, organisations need to rethink their cyber risk approach to stay one step ahead of would-be attackers. Cyber Signals found that there are currently over 1 million connected devices publicly visible on the internet running Boa, an outdated and unsupported software still widely used in IoT devices and software development kits.

“Organisations are more connected than ever before. From the humble WiFi router to the everyday office printer, ICT teams need to view their IoT devices differently and secure them as they would any company laptop to prevent security breaches.”



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