Kenya, US sign deal to fight cybercrime


ICT secretary Joe Mucheru. PHOTO | SALATON NJAU

Kenya and the United States have formed a partnership to fight cybercrime that has in recent months become a big threat to governments and private business around the world.

The deal was struck at a meeting between senior US State Department officials and Kenya’s ICT and Defence Cabinet secretaries in Nairobi last week.

The two countries agreed to collaborate in the area of Internet policy formulation and share information on cybercrime. 

The US government also committed to train 100 Kenyans on cybersecurity.

US Department of State has been pursuing an international cyberspace policy that strengthens cybersecurity defences around the world.

Cybercrime has in recent months rapidly grown to become a major cross-border menace that is costing public and private sector organisations billions of dollars annually, besides paralysing operations.

“In cyberspace you can no longer operate alone. We’ve seen that an attack from Ukraine can go anywhere. An attack from Kenya can go anywhere. This co-operation across different markets is very key,” said ICT secretary Joe Mucheru.

Mr Mucheru spoke in the wake of a  global cyberattack.

Petya, a malicious software, has infected thousands of computers, locking up files and demanding ransom to decrypt data.

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The malware was said to have originated from Ukraine before it quickly spread to other countries, including the US, the UK and Germany, infecting big multinational companies such as advertising firm WPP and shipping company Maersk.

No Petya attacks have so far been reported in Kenya.

The malware has, however, been used to carry out two major global attacks in as many months, highlighting the borderless nature of the threat and the need for a global response.

Nairobi has become a regional business hub that hosts big American corporations such as Google and GE, making cybersecurity critical to maintaining that status.