Comparitech’s recent global cybersecurity study has revealed that South Africa has upped its game over the last year. Countries are ranked using a number of criteria, with one being the least secure country and 75 being the most secure country.  


With remote work and COVID-19 pandemic a new factor in the field of security, the countries were scrutinized according to the following 16 criteria:


  • % of mobile devices infected with malware
  • % of users attacked by mobile banking trojans
  • % of users attacked by mobile ransomware trojans
  • % share of users attacked by desktop banking malware
  • % of users attacked by desktop ransomware trojans
  • % of computers infected by at least one web-based malware attack
  • % of computers facing at least one local malware attack
  • % of mobile users attacked via web sources
  • % of telnet attacks by originating country (IoT)
  • % of attacks by cryptominers
  • % of SSH-based attacks by originating country (IoT)
  • % of all spam emails originating in each country
  • % share of countries targeted by malicious emails
  • % of computers attacked by phishing
  • The best-prepared countries for cyberattacks
  • How COVID-19 specific malware attacks have affected each country

Below is a heatmap of the 75 countries, ranked from least secure to most secure.


Heatmap of global cybersecurity ranking.

Source: Comparitech


Amongst 75 countries, South Africa ranked 24th overall, improved their rating with an average score of 20.9 with a total of 606,233 COVID10 related malicious files were detected. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has warned that fraudsters have used the pandemic as a new angle to their cyberattacks, with crypto mining, malware and banking trojans the biggest attacks over the last year.


Despite South Africa’s cybersecurity status improving slightly, in the list of countries with the most detected malicious files, South Africa sits at number three with 731,985 detections. The United States and Spain take the top two positions respectively.


The top sectors hit are outsourcing and hosting, telecoms, government, financial, retail, process manufacturing, insurance and the automotive sector.


Read more: Common cybercrime trends in South Africa


How to protect your website against common cyberattacks:


Website security is a necessary step to take in securing your e-commerce store or business website against attacks. Fortunately it’s an affordable exercise that you can scale up once you’ve got the basics in place. Take the following steps to guard your website.


  • Install an SSL certificate
  • Choose strong passwords
  • Accept regular software updates
  • Install a malware removal tool
  • Integrate a secure payment gateway