Security researchers have detected a rise in attacks from Nigerian cyber criminals who they say pose a “formidable” threat to businesses across the globe.

According to a report released Tuesday by Palo Alto Networks, hackers working out of Nigeria initiated an average of 17,600 attacks per month over the past year — an increase over the 12,200 attacks-per-month average detected in 2016.

“As a group, these actors continue to exhibit noteworthy year-over-year technical growth as they adopt new tools and techniques,” the report from Palo Alto Networks says.

Nigerian internet scams have attracted attention for a number of years, though threat actors have only more recently begun to employ malware in order to hack corporate networks for financial gain.

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