November 18, 2023


‘Anyone with the relevant account number or identity card can freely access details of bills, exam results and identity data of anyone else.’

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Cybercrime is a rising threat to Kenyan businesses

Cybercrime is a rising threat to Kenyan businesses

Image courtesy of Cyber Mag

A recently released report from the National Crime and Research Centre (NCRC) on cyber crime in Kenya suggests that young employees and ICT experts (perhaps not surprisingly) as being behind rising corporate security threats.

The Information Communication Technology Crimes and Offence in Kenya report suggests that tech savvy youths are responsible for just over 50 percent of reported cyber crimes and ICT ‘experts’ 43.9 percent.

Most common offences and fraud targets

The report states that the most common offenses committed are, “identity theft and impersonation, computer fraud, interception of electronic or money transfers and unauthorized access.”

The report notes that cyber fraud involving digital money transfers (of which 26.5 percent hit Mpesa accounts), adversely affect “illiterate/uninformed and elderly persons” via identify theft, impersonation and the interception of electronic messages and money transfers.

The leading targets of the cyber criminals, the report says, are the financial, education sectors. The financial sector is hardest with some 68.4 percent of cybercrime cases being related to online banking fraud and phishing attacks.

Over one-in-four cyberattacks (27.8 percent), however, are targeted on universities and colleges, putting academic data at risk.

Cyber crime cost to the Kenyan economy

The cost of cyber crime to the Kenyan economy and Kenyans is not insignificant. In the 12-month period, 666 cases of cyber  crime were reported. The Economic Survey 2023 published in May, says that Kenyan businesses and individuals report 1 million online crimes every day.

A report just tabled in Parliament by President Ruto states that in twelve months Kenyan banks (and their customers) amounted to Sh2 billion (of which Sh322.21 million was recovered by enforcement agencies.

State agencies hold most private citizens data

In an interesting article in The Star in October (‘Why state agencies weakest link in data privacy protection of Kenyans”), Collins Ajuok argued that most private citizens data are held by state agencies.

For instance”, wrote Ajuok, ‘anyone who knows your identity card number, searching from any phone, is ale to use the National Hospital Insurance Fund platform to see details of your employer, NHIF status and dependents, with their full names.’

Colins Ajuok cited other state organisations at fault. ‘Most state and independent agencies, including the IEBC, Kenya Power and KNEC have “open search” status, where anyone with the relevant account number or identity card can freely access details of bills, exam results and identity data of anyone else.’

Kenya Forum readers may also be interested in the following postings:

Global Internet Freedom Declining (13/10/2023)

Internet shutdown in Africa: a barrier to progress and freedom (20/7/2023)


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