New cybersecurity course targets financial industry


The Chartered Institute for Securities and Investments (CISI) has unveiled a cybersecurity course for financial sector practitioners amid a surge in cybercrimes and related threats.

The self-learning online course explores the nature of cyber risk, the types of attacks to be aware of, measures to take in case of an attack as well as regulatory details and legal requirements.

Cybercrime and related threats have thrived following expansion in mobile broadband networks such as 3G and 4G that have transformed Kenya into a digital economy.

“This new certification will enable firms to prevent potential paralysis of computer systems, theft or loss of data which may lead to disruptions, fines, or sanctions for inadequate protection,” says John Kihoro, ACSI, the East Africa representative of the CISI.

The financial services sector’s position at the heart of the world’s economy makes it an attractive target for cybercriminals.

These hackers often exploit weaknesses in the growing number of digital connections between financial firms, their clients and customers.

The latest financial sector stability report —prepared by regulators including the Central Bank of Kenya and Sacco Societies Regulatory Authority — shows saccos lost Sh106 million in the 17 months to March 2021 to cyber theft.

The losses — an equivalent of Sh6.23 million per month or Sh208,000 daily — came on the back of increased use of digital channels such as mobile banking.

The cybercriminals can be sophisticated criminal organisations looking to steal data, rogue states keen on disrupting services or activist groups wanting to simply cause havoc.

In 2019, cybercriminals attacked some 18 Kenyan government websites, leaving their homepages dysfunctional.

The State websites were hacked by an Indonesian hacker group ‘Kurd Electronic Team’, but it is still unclear whether the attack was State-driven.

Mr Kihoro divulged that the course dubbed Corporate Cyber Security Professional Assessment has been developed following requests from leading financial firms and contains relevant and up-to-date material on key topics on cybersecurity.

The course targets practitioners working in all areas of financial services, including wealth, planning, securities and equities, bonds, operations, risk, compliance, fintech, corporate finance and regulation.

CISI, which is UK-based, brings together securities, investment, wealth, banking and financial planning practitioners.

The organisation was formed in 1992 by London Stock Exchange practitioners and currently has a global community of about 45,000 members in 104 countries.

The CISI has five grades of membership, including Affiliate, Student, Associate, Chartered Member and Chartered Fellow.

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