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Cyber-attacks in Kenya up by half to hit 56m in three months

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Cybercrime is one of the biggest challenges facing companies. PHOTO | FOTOSEARCH

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Summary

  • Cyber attacks on Kenyan organisations rose by nearly 50 percent in the last three months of 2020 compared to a similar period the previous year, a new data shows.
  • This came at a time when organisations adopted remote working systems as well as ecommerce tools amid Covid-19 lockdown measures.
  • The Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) data shows that more than 56 million cyber threats were detected nationwide in comparison to 37.1 million in 2019.

Cyber attacks on Kenyan organisations rose by nearly 50 percent in the last three months of 2020 compared to a similar period the previous year, a new data shows.

This came at a time when organisations adopted remote working systems as well as ecommerce tools amid Covid-19 lockdown measures.

The Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) data shows that more than 56 million cyber threats were detected nationwide in comparison to 37.1 million in 2019.

“A majority of the threats were malware attacks at 46 million, followed by web application attacks at 7.8 million while 2.2 million Distributed Denial of Service (DDos) threats were detected during the same period,” the CA said in a statement.

The rise in cyber threats have seen businesses lose billions of shillings and sensitive information to hackers. This has forced firms, especially in the financial sector, to be vigilant.

According to a survey conducted by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) and the CA, Kenya lost about Sh18 billion to cybercrime in 2016.

In 2017, the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) warned that local lenders were exposed to cyberattacks and ICT-enabled fraud.

ICT Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru expressed fears of an increase in cybercrimes during the upcoming Building Bridges Initiate (BBI) referendum as well as the 2022 general elections.

He urged the CA to heighten its cyber threats detection and monitoring capacity to mitigate the risk.

The CS was speaking during the official opening of national Safe Internet Day celebrations at the CA's headquarters in Nairobi.

The micro-site, developed in collaboration with Safaricom, Airtel, Telkom Kenya, Jamii Telecommunication Ltd and the Global System for Mobile Communications (GSMA), will provide online safety tips for children and guardians.

“It also has a gaming component that enables both the young and the young at heart to measure their level of awareness on online risks such as cyber bullying, identity theft and online sexual harassment,” said CA’s acting director-general, Mercy Wanjau.