Kenyan organizations recorded almost double the number of cyber-attacks compared to the same period a year ago, a new report shows. Data from the Communications Authority shows that more than 56 million cyber threats were detected countrywide, compared to 37.1 million in 2019.
The CA attributes the spike to the Covid-19 pandemic that saw more companies adopting work-from-home policies.
Travel restrictions and lockdown measures necessitated the adoption of online shopping, education and even entertainment. Ecommerce boomed during the season, despite many countries experiencing general financial declines.
“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 high rate of cyber-crime in the country has resulted in businesses losing billions of shillings as well as having sensitive information compromised. This has necessitated vigilance especially for players in the financial sector.
Data from the CA and the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics show that Kenya lost about Sh18 billion to cybercrime in 2016. The Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) in 2017 warned that banks and local lenders were susceptible to cyber-crime and ICT-related fraud.
The ICT Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru has expressed fears of increased cyber-crime during the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) referendum period and the 2022 General Elections. He urged CA to tighten the noose on cyber criminals and heighten its cyber-detection capacity.
The CS was speaking during the Safer Internet Day event held at the CA premises. The regulator, in collaboration with telcos; Safaricom, Airtel, Jamii Telecom; and GSMA and UNICEF, launched a Child Online Protection Website.
“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.