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Mucheru raises alarm on cyber crime

ICT secretary Joe Mucheru at the 9th ICT Summit in Diani, Kwale County on April 11, 2017: He says the Cyber Security Bill will help tackle cyber crime. FILE PHOTO | WACHIRA MWANGI | NMG
ICT secretary Joe Mucheru at the 9th ICT Summit in Diani, Kwale County on April 11, 2017: He says the Cyber Security Bill will help tackle cyber crime. FILE PHOTO | WACHIRA MWANGI | NMG 

The government has decried the increased number of cyber crime cases in the country, saying it is a threat to Kenya's digital economy.

Information Communication and Technology (ICT) Secretary Joe Mucheru said hackers are increasingly targeting sectors that are digital-savvy especially with the rise of financial technology and internet banking.

He was however confident that the Cyber Security Bill, which is awaiting debate and enactment by parliament, will be passed.

“The government is alive to the emerging threats, the breakneck speed at which we are mainstreaming ICT as an enabler of business and development must therefore be balanced with prudent risk management,” he said.

Mr Mucheru said the Bill proposes stiffer penalties for those engaging in cybercrime to serve as a deterrent “for anyone contemplating to compromise systems for selfish gain.”

“Further, there is growing concern on the subject of big data with regard to how private entities are actively collecting and keeping citizens’ data and how this data is used,” he said during the ICT conference in Kwale County.

Focus on prevention

CitiBank CEO Joyce-Ann Wainaina advised financial institutions not to share passwords and invest in detections in order to safeguard themselves from hackers.

“It is critical that we focus on prevention. Citi transfers about $3 trillion a day all over the world and you can imagine the incentives it creates for criminals or bad actors who would like to get their hands on it. There is no value in cyber-crime unless there is a reward at the end,” she said.

Telkom Kenya chief executive Aldo Mareuse attributed lapses in cyber security to insiders, saying the firm had dealt with such incidents severally before identifying the insider.

“The difficulty we have is how to make labour laws more efficient because sometimes after knowing the insider, we are unable to dismiss the employee due to the rigidity of the law,” he said.

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