• The 2021 Digital Quality of Life Index ranked SA 68 out of 110 countries.
  • But SA came in at 85 for electronic security – and 95 for cybersecurity.
  • Nigeria, Kenya, Mauritius, Zambia, Algeria, Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana, and Tunisia are ahead of SA in electronic security.
  • For more stories go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.

South Africa is laggard when it comes to cybersecurity, not just globally but also on the continent, according to research conducted by virtual private network provider SharkTank.

Though the 2021 Digital Quality of Life Index ranked SA 68 out of 110 countries overall, the country performed poorly when it came to electronic security, and its subset, cybersecurity.

SA did not just rank poorly globally, but also amongst the 18 African countries measured on the index. When it comes to the ranking of electronic security, SA is behind Nigeria, Kenya, Mauritius, Zambia, Algeria, Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana, and Tunisia.

SA was only ahead of Morocco, Mali, Senegal, Angola, Tanzania, Namibia, Egypt, and Cameroon.

Overall, SA came in at 85 for electronic security and 95 for cybersecurity. By comparison, Nigeria – the highest ranked African country on security – ranked 46 on electronic security and 48 for cybersecurity.

High profile cyber breaches

SA’s vulnerability when it comes to electronic security can be seen in spate of high profile cyber breaches over the past few months. A hack of debt collector Debt-IN systems led to the employer and salary date, alongside ID number and contact details of 1.4 million South Africans been made available online.

The state has also not been spared, with the Department of Justice and Transnet falling victim to cyber-attacks. The attack on the Department of Justice was particularly cruel as it interrupted maintenance payments.

SA is not alone in dealing with these kind of attacks according to cyber security firm Kaspersky. It reported in August 2021 that SA, Kenya, Nigeria and Ethiopia had been the subject of 85 million malware attacks in the preceding six months, of which, SA accounted for 32 million of them.

“This indicates that cybercriminals and hackers continue to focus on Africa, where controls are known to be weak,” noted Liquid Intelligent Technologies in its The evolving Cyber Security threat in Africa report.

Not all bad

Though SA did not fare well on the Digital Quality of Life Index’s electronic security rankings, it performed well when it came to measures like mobile internet stability where it came at seventh, and 24th on mobile affordability.

Even so, SA lost ground when compared to other countries on the index, as it had overall fallen nine places when compared to where it was in 2020.

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