Email attacks top cyber risks Kenyan firms face

The emergence of Artificial Intelligence (AI) as an important cog in the global technology ecosystem has opened new vulnerabilities.

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Email attacks, which come in the form of phishing and spamming, are now the top cybersecurity threat Kenyan businesses are grappling with, a new report shows.

The pan-African cybersecurity report dubbed ‘The Evolving Cyber Security Landscape in Africa 2022’ published by technology firm Liquid C2 indicates that 68 percent of the local businesses that submitted their responses in the research singled out email-based attacks as the biggest threats to their online existence.

The report, which covered a study of the cybersecurity landscape in the year 2022, further states that gaining unauthorised access to organisations’ information systems, theft of confidential information and data loss and recovery remained top concerns for Kenyan businesses that have a virtual presence.

“Ninety percent of Kenyan businesses have experienced a data breach in the past year. 82 percent of Kenyan businesses said cyber security threats had increased over the past year,” the report notes.

Microsoft Office leads in the rank of cloud-based services used by Kenyan businesses at 72 percent, followed by Google at 62 percent while online meeting platforms such as Zoom, Teams and Skype enjoy 60 percent usage.

The report notes that among the strategic interventions that business operators are putting in place to mitigate cyber threats include the use of advanced endpoint protection such as firewalls, data backup, secure VPN and remote access and web and email content filtering.

The data collaborates with that published by the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) in its quarter three sector statistics report showing that the total cyber threats detected during the three months clocked 187.8 million out of which 26.4 million were malware attacks.

During the period, CA issued a total of 3.6 million cyber threat advisories. Other threats that prominently featured in the Authority’s report include distributed denial of service (DDOS) attacks (7.6 million), web application attacks (128,514) and system vulnerabilities (153.6 million).

DDOS attacks happen when hackers jam systems crippling operations until a ransom is paid.

Kenya’s highly digitised economy linked with mobile money through telcos and banks has made the country a target for cybercrime and online fraud, with banks losing hundreds of millions annually.

Financial malware includes viruses that are designed and developed to retrieve financial information and steal money from individuals and firms.

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