The Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB) has revealed that it was the victim of a Sh2 billion fraud attempt on its banking system in 2020, at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The bank made public the incident on Thursday through its sustainability report which put the number of prevented cyberattacks at 3,624 and other attempted fraud cases at 663.
The bank did not disclose whether the attempted Sh2 billion heist was instigated by local or foreign hackers.
“In 2020, the Group successfully prevented a theft of Sh2 billion, in attempted fraud, thanks to our robust cybersecurity systems,” KCB said without providing much detail on the arrest or legal action over the heist.
Kenya has seen a rise in cybercrime and online fraud partly due to a vibrant mobile money system driven by the digital economy. Mobile and internet banking have particularly become popular, exposing thousands of users to fraud and phishing attacks.
Data from the Central Bank shows a 52 percent rise in Kenya’s mobile money transactions to Sh3.26 trillion in the first half of the year.
Phishing occurs when criminals circulate ads promising rewards such as free airtime, money, prizes and other products. When you click on the ad, you are redirected to counterfeit websites where your personal data is collected and used to steal cash.
According to KCB, a directive from the Atyorney General requiring companies to update their beneficial ownership re-register has proved helpful in tracking real time payments and flagging suspicious transactions.
“In line with this development the Group moved to strengthen its internal Know Your Customer (KYC) procedures. Combined with our robust cybersecurity systems, we were able to flag and prevent suspicious or fraudulent transactions faster,” KCB Group said.
Early this year, 12 people among them eight Kenyans were jailed after they were found guilty of cybercrime in Rwanda. The twelve were accused of hacking and stealing cash from the bank.
The twelve, also comprising three Rwandans and One Ugandan have been jailed for eight years. The group fell into the hands of the Rwandan Investigation Bureau in October 2019 after they attempted to hack Equity Bank’s systems to steal money.