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Kenya tops list of EA countries worst-hit by computer viruses

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Increased Internet use due to landing of fibre optic cables lures hackers who infect computers in the country with malware. Photo/FILE

Increased Internet use due to landing of fibre optic cables lures hackers who infect computers in the country with malware. Photo/FILE 

By Kui Kinyanjui

Posted  Thursday, September 9  2010 at  00:00

Kenya has risen to become the most insecure country in East Africa in terms of virtual threats, according to new industry findings.

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International data security firm Kaspersky says Kenya now tops the list of East African countries for computers that are infected with dangerous threats and malicious viruses.

“Given East Africa’s recent Internet connectivity boom, with the landing of SEACOM the number of security infections in Kenya has increased approximately 10 times and roughly four times during the last six months,” said Mr Sergey Novikov, head of the region’s research at Kaspersky Lab.

Mr Novikov says such statistics are a cause for major concern as hackers infect computers to gain access to private and important information, from personal banking details to company data bases and information that should not be shared.

“Looking at the number of security detections in East Africa during the last eight months, Kenya ranked in first place with 40 per cent, Tanzania in second place with 14 per cent and Ethiopia in 11th place with 1.1 per cent.

Kaspersky notes that on the international scene, in terms of security threats, Kenya has less than one per cent of infections and ranks at number 37.

Kaspersky’s report backs increasing reports from local security vendors who say that many companies and local businesses are going online as a result of increased connectivity in the country following the arrival of high speed fibre connectivity last year.

Analysts say the threats change and are urging market players to give priority to efficiency and define the challenges and opportunities of IT security for Africa.

Security concerns are set to be the focus next month as a two day Information Communication Technology & Network Security Conference opens on October 5.

Dependence on Internet

Dubbed ‘Secure ICT 2010’, the conference aims to educate local professionals on the potential risks associated with the country’s increasing dependence on the internet as a key business tool.

Conference organiser Mr Evans Kathuthu said this year’s conference seeks to address new and continuing threats to information security as well as responses to the increasing risk of security breaches and data exfiltration, identity theft and cyber terrorism.

International security expert Johnny Long is expected to address delegates on global trends in the hacking sector.