CyberSecurity; the personal prerogative



Digitisation continues to gain ground among consumers. Services have been distilled to their simplest forms and made accessible through connected channels that ensure on-demand access.

The mobile phone as a personal device continues to improve in capacity, design, and aesthetics, growing its utility. Cloud infrastructure and connectivity are on the same trajectory.

More data centres are coming up, new subsea internet cables are landing, and additional satellites are settling into orbit to keep up with the increasing demand for storage and computing for old and new services.

All this activity creates intrinsic value. Some absolute, where for example financial traffic flows powering payments, settlements, and a universe of other applications.

Some implied, in the context of personal identifying information or business data that can provide a competitive advantage if well analysed and applied. These pots of value are bound to attract nefarious entities, keen to gain economic advantage or advance a strategic agenda.

Eager market

The weight of the responsibility on how to defend these assets has primarily fallen on the shoulders of the individuals and corporates that take time to build and make services available to an often-eager market across categories.

Granted, a service provider must try to cover all bases concerning protecting valuable assets in its ecosystem.

A living process or framework is required to keep threats at bay and minimise damage should infiltration or compromise happen. We will continue to see budgetary commitments to cybersecurity grow to address tooling and human resource training.

That said, consumers have a role to play. Complaints have increased on social media about possible lapses, gaps, or infiltration of financial services platforms.

The claim has been of being hacked, pointing blame at insecure services or platforms. Fuelled by Hollywood narratives, the image of a brilliant hooded assailant typing manically on a keyboard in some undisclosed location probably comes to mind.

Following up on some of these incidents, we find the workings of something much less sensational, but equally devastating, social engineering. It calls for consumers to take a zero-trust approach in their lives.

Access to one’s mobile number and email can unlock untold grief in the hands of seasoned fraudsters or other seemingly innocuous opportunists closer home.

The Communications Authority, the Kenya Bankers Association, financial service providers, and telecommunication companies continue to run campaign blitzes to sensitize users. Everyone is a threat, best act like it.

Njihia is the head of business at Safiri Express | | Twitter: @mbuguanjihia