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Kenya witnesses 400m cyber attacks in six months

By , Africa editor
Kenya , 23 Aug 2023
Director general Ezra Chiloba spoke about cyber security during the award ceremony for the 2023 Eldoret edition of the Cybersecurity Bootcamp and Hackathon.
Director general Ezra Chiloba spoke about cyber security during the award ceremony for the 2023 Eldoret edition of the Cybersecurity Bootcamp and Hackathon.

Kenya witnessed 440 million cyber attacks in the first half of this year, according to the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA).

CA director-general Ezra Chiloba revealed the details of the attacks last week, when he closed a boot camp and hackathon series − a one-week training programme for young people to enhance cyber security competence.

Due to the increase in attacks, Chiloba stated the regulator is running the National Computer Incident Response Team. The multi-agency team brings together all the players in the security sector to work together to monitor cyberspace, identify potential risks, and issue advisories to the various actors that are affected for necessary action.

“It's something we have to learn to live with,” he added, referring to the attacks. “But our responsibility is to ensure our space remains secure and that we mitigate the risks around those attacks.

“We must continuously monitor cyberspace, render necessary advisories, and invite the key players who are able to help us to cushion the country against the negative impacts of cyber attacks.”

The CA is working to improve cyber security by training young cyber security experts around the country, claiming that as the government digitises its services, the demand for security skills has become essential.

Kenya's government recently launched the e-Citizen platform, which enables citizens to access over 5 000 government services online.

Chiloba stated that a platform like this must be protected from attacks.

“We also need to guarantee the safety and security of those platforms, so that customers can have the full experience when it comes to accessing those services. We must start with capacity-building, and we think that this boot camp and hackathon series is a good way of really inducting young minds into this space.”

Furthermore, Chiloba pushed local governments to think of themselves as active players in the digital arena, not only in terms of automation, but also in terms of cyber security.

Kenya's initiative to raise cyber security awareness comes as experts have issued a number of warnings in recent weeks, stating African countries are fast becoming focus points for cyber threats.

According to the most recent Kaspersky Security Network data, the continent is well represented in the global top 100 for online threats, with Kenya ranking 35th, Nigeria 50th and South Africa 82nd.

According to the country's national IT agency, Nigeria recently had to raise its security alert level in response to persistent attempts by a Sudanese hacker organisation.

Anonymous Sudan also previously targeted Kenyan digital services a few days prior. The group claimed responsibility for a number of distributed denial-of-service assaults targeting Kenyan institutions.

According to Liquid C2's most recent cyber security research, “The evolving cyber security landscape in Africa 2022”, cyber attacks on Kenyan, South African and Zambian organisations increased last year.

The survey notes attacks climbed by 82% in Kenyan firms, 62% in South African enterprises and 62% in Zambian companies.

Today, research firm International Data Corporation (IDC) warned the cyber security landscape is “volatile and ever-changing”, exposing companies to new dangers on a regular basis.

IDC added that companies should consider solutions such as intrusion detection and prevention systems, sophisticated threat intelligence, and continuous monitoring, because these security services detect and thwart threats in real-time.

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