While surfing the internet for cute videos of cats, have you ever wondered just how safe it actually is? Many users will blissfully click on links taking them to fluffy animals, but anti-virus and online security company Kaspersky Lab revealed that Africa is not as safe as users would like to believe.

According to the company’s Kaspersky Security Network, Africa accounts for as much as 4% of the total security threats in the world.

The largest culprit in the region for the first quarter of this year was the Dinihou Worm, which was responsible for about 3-million infections. Kaspersky Lab explained that the worm spreads through removable media devices such as USB and memory cards, making use of .LNK files.

But its viewing those animal videos through the hugely-popular VLC Media Player that will more than likely give you a nasty virus, as Kaspersky revealed that breaches in an unpatched player lead to the program being used the most for frequently exploited vulnerabilities. In South Africa, VLC Player is not alone, as Oracle Java also contributes to a large amount of security holes in a system.

In terms of malware detections on the African continent, Algeria leads the proverbial pack with almost 18-million total threats detected in the first quarter of this year. Dropping off significantly, Egypt is in second place, while South Africa is fourth with just over 4-million total threats detected in Q1.

“While mobile and financial malware, advanced persistent threats and web threats are becoming more popular among cybercriminals, removable devices and local networks are still the prime sources of IT risks for users in Africa. Companies and home users should be aware of those risks and take care of their data by using comprehensive security solutions,” Ghareeb Saad, Senior Security Researcher at Kaspersky Lab said in a press statement.

But it’s not all bad news. While the number of eliminated threats (49 million) might seem high, there has been a decrease in incidents. Compared to the figures from January to March 2013, this year saw 3.4 million less attacks, but the number of cyber-attacks and malware infections in Africa for 2013 rose by more than 70-million from 2012.

[Source: Kaspersky Lab]
Charlie started his professional life as a motoring journalist for a community newspaper in Mpumalanga, Charlie explored different journalistic angles since his entry into the fast-paced world of publishing in 2006. While fostering a passion for the arts, Charlie developed a love for technology – both which allowed him to serve as Entertainment and Technology Editor for an online publication. Charlie has since been heavily involved in consumer technology for various websites and publications. He thoroughly enjoys World War II films and cerebral documentaries; aviation; photography and indie music. Oh yes, and he also has a rather strange obsession with collecting coffee mugs from his travels.