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Kenya witnesses worrying escalation in cyber threats

Kenya , 08 Jan 2021

Kenya has witnessed a significant increase (159%) increase in cyber threats between July and September 2020, according to the latest quarterly report released by the Communications Authority of Kenya.

The report says over 35.2 million threats were recorded in contrast to 13.9 million in the last quarter, and the CA says threats have taken advantage of the remote work model in which users have little to no corporate protection.

The CA said: “This increase in cyber threat attacks detected was attributed to the move to working remotely and increased uptake of e-commerce in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This increased vulnerability of organisations and businesses to cybercriminals who targeted remote working systems and tools, and e-commerce sites for fraudulent gains.”

The regulator also noted an increase in online abuse and online fraud cases reported to the National KE-CIRT/CC.

A report by Kaspersky Africa in September 2020 supported CA’s findings citing Kenya as one of the three most vulnerable countries in Africa.

Kenya recorded 6 million cases of potentially unwanted applications (PUA) in July 2020 falling second to South Africa’s number of 6.2 million. Malware infections were recorded at 2.3 million in July 2020, topping both numbers, 1.5 million and 0.5 million, from South Africa and Nigeria respectively.

Commenting on the period January to July 2020, Kaspersky said: “By taking a closer look at PUA, it becomes apparent that they are not only more widespread but also more potent than traditional malware. Evaluating results over the same 7-month period in Nigeria, there were 3.8 million malware attacks and 16.8 million PUA detections – which is four times as much.”

“Kenyan and South African threat landscapes have been more intense. In South Africa, there were almost 10 million malware attacks and a staggering 43 million PUA detections. Kenyan users faced even more malware attacks – around 14 million, and 41 million PUA appearances,” the cyber security firm added.

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