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Kenyans offline due to prohibitive costs, security fears

By , ITWeb
Kenya , 03 Aug 2017

Kenyans offline due to prohibitive costs, security fears

Mozilla-backed research, carried out by Research ICT Africa, has revealed that Kenyans are offline due to prohibitive costs and security fears.

"While internet access is good in Kenya relative to elsewhere in Africa, real barriers remain to internet use. If we don't look beyond access issues to the real concerns around privacy and security, for example, we'll never bring the entire internet to all people," notes Research ICT Africa executive director, Alison Gillwald.

"One participant in this study reported concerns about getting skin cancer from their phone, proving there's a lot more we still need to do to improve digital (and health) literacy," says Mozilla senior global policy manager, Jochai Ben-Avie.

"At the same time, Kenyan internet penetration is on par with some of the most developed countries, and that's due to the ingenuity of Kenyans to find ways to connect despite the relatively high cost of data," adds Ben-Avie.

According to the Communications Authority of Kenya, some 38 million people – about 82% of the population – were online in 2016. The four mobile operators in the country have 4G internet connections on mobile but not in all parts of the country.

The research also found that national network coverage was a challenge for both voice and data, particularly in rural areas.

As reported by CIO News Kenya, apart from physical security, it was recently revealed that Kenya's cybercrime threat landscape changes at different times of the year.

One of the most popular times of year for increased cyber-criminal activities affecting the country is during its election time, according to Robert Mugo, CEO, ICT Authority.

At a press briefing at the second annual Africa Security Summit held at the Norfolk Hotel in Nairobi, Kenya, Mugo said: "Threat landscape changes depending on different times of the year. Especially now when we have elections coming up, we tend to see a lot of spike in activities in terms of cybercrime."

Ahead of Kenya's election on 8 August 2017, Mugo noted that the government is taking actions to limit such interruptions by malicious people in the form of heavy investment aimed towards updating and upgrading the government's cyber security systems.

"With government digitising all its systems, we have realised there is an increase in cyber-related crimes targeting Government agencies. The government currently has a plan underway to invest close to US$50 million to help secure its systems," He added.

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