Ethiopia Fends Off Exponential Spike in Cyber Attacks, Thwarts over 96 Percent of Attack 


Addis Ababa, October 24/2023 (ENA) The Information Network Security Agency (INSA) has thwarted over 96 percent of cyber-attacks against key institutions, Cyber Security Audit and Evaluation Directorate Head Tilahun Ejegu said.

In an exclusive interview with the Ethiopian News Agency, the head said Ethiopia has experienced an exponential increase in cyber-attacks over the last eight years, with a 50 percent  spike year-on-year.

According to him, the number of cyber-attacks targeting Ethiopian infrastructures has increased from 214 eight years ago to 8,845 last year. 

The cyber-attacks included distributed denial of service (DDoS), scanning, and malware attacks, he said, adding that the most targeted sectors were financial, security, media organizations, key infrastructures, government ministries and cross sectorial institutions like education and health.

According to Tilahun, Malware, denial-of-service, and scan attacks are the most common types of cyber-attacks on Ethiopia. 

Malware is malicious software that can damage or disable a computer system or network, while denial-of-service attacks are attempts to overwhelm a computer system or network with traffic, making it unavailable to legitimate users. Scan attack is evaluation of vulnerabilities in systems for any future attack.

The aim of the attacks, the head said, is to deny service, steal data, and damage public trust in the government.

The head revealed that the attacks are carried out by some elements with different political intent, especially by those who wanted to profit from  the insecurity and political instability of the country. Geopolitics of water is also among the reasons of cyber-attacks.

Last year alone, there were 695 scanning attacks, 1,295 malware attacks, 603 penetration attempts, and 2,254 website attacks.

However, INSA has managed to thwart the attacks and saved over 23 billion Birr worth of potential damage, Tilahun said.

These attacks could have a significant impact on the country's economy and security if it wasn’t for INSA’s good posture to thwart the attack.

The head pointed out that Ethiopia's cyber security posture is among the best in the African continent. "Our cyber incident response team clearly understands from which geographical area the attacks come from, targeting which infrastructure for what purpose," he stated.

Yet, the agency has conducted comprehensive vulnerability assessments across 127 key government institutions to identify gaps and weaknesses in the country's cyber defenses. 

Based on these findings, INSA is working diligently to close any discovered gaps and fortify systems against attack by thoroughly evaluating cyber vulnerabilities at a national scale and addressing the risks.

Tilhaun said that the comprehensive assessments and remediation efforts demonstrate INSA's proactive approach to improving the country's cyber security standing.



Ethiopian News Agency