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Why Kenyan companies risk deadly ransomware attack

Kaspersky Undated screen grab shows a program of the computer virus. PHOTO | AFP
Kaspersky Undated screen grab shows a program of the computer virus. PHOTO | AFP 

Being hit by the encryption-based cyber-attack, which is a ransomware called Wannacrypt0r, is the least of the worries of local firms.

This week, it emerged that more than five companies fell victim to the ransomware, an aspect that could get worse as about 80 per cent of the country’s organisations back-up systems are run on windows operating systems, which is the malware’s target. This is according to IT services and business consulting firm, Serianu’s CEO William Makatiani.

“Almost 80 per cent of our servers are based on Windows, we’ve another almost 16 per cent on Unix or the Linux variant and then you have other operating systems … we are very vulnerable” he said.

More firms are likely to be hit this week, the IT firm boss asserts, but tracking the same may present a challenge. “The question is are they going to report? In Europe, you are required by the government to report these cases, here [Kenya], unless someone calls you and tells you ‘I have seen this or the other’, people won’t know,” says Mr Makatiani.

The threat is even more concerning for Kenya given that 83.1 per cent of public sector institutions do not even have mechanisms to detect intruders into their networks, according to a recent State-sponsored survey.

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