KENYA: Cybercrimes surge by 37pc as usage of Internet increases

Written by on October 14, 2021

Cybercrimes and related threats have risen this year as Kenya’s Internet and data subscriptions grew to 46.7 million. The Communications Authority of Kenya data shows 38.8 million cyber-attacks were recorded from April to June, an increase of 37.3 percent between January-March when 28.2 million cyber threats were detected.

According to the report, the increase is due to the significant rise in targeted attacks on Internet of Things devices such as smartphones, home appliances, and security systems.

“There has been an increase in activity by organized cybercrime groups, adoption of more sophisticated tools by ransomware gangs, increased targeted attacks at critical systems and services, increased exploits of mobile application vulnerabilities, increased targeted attacks at cloud-based supported services and unsecured infrastructure, and increased adoption of the botnet and Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack techniques,” notes the fourth quarter sector statistics report.

Experts say Covid-19 triggered an epidemic of cybercrimes with cyberbullying taking the centre stage.

Most of the victims are women, according to a study released on September 30, 2021, by the Ministry of Gender and Youth Affairs and the ICT ministry.

The growth in Internet users at 12.8 percent, means more are Kenyans constantly online, buying and selling, banking, working from home, or seeking entertainment, especially on social media.

This has provided a playing ground for fraudsters and bullies engaging in crimes such as sexual harassment, employment breaches, and violation of privacy, among others.

The presence of a large number of Kenyan adults on Facebook, Twitter, Signal, Viber, Instagram, Telegram, YouTube and blogs has made it easy for hackers to stalk them.

The National Kenya Computer Incident Response Team/Co-ordination Centre, which tackles cyber threats, said it received 529 requests to investigate digital cases in the three months compared to 298 during the previous period, a 77.51 percent increase.

The number of warnings it issued to the public over cyber threats also increased in the three months from 25,189 to 25,969 advisories, a 3.1 percent raise.“This increase is attributed to the rise in impersonation, online fraud, and online abuse cases arising from increased Internet access,” reads part of the report.

Impersonation ranked top in the cases investigated between April-June at 302, up from 162 in January-March or 86.4 percent jump.

Online fraudsters followed, increasing to 97 from 63. Online abuse rose sharply by 84 percent, while child abuse cases dropped drastically to negative 66 percent.

The fraudsters steal data, access devices, or send spam to spread computer viruses or malicious software. During this period, the National Kenya Computer Incident Response Team detected 33.7 million malware threat events compared to 34.8 million in October-December 2019. The report also warns Kenyans against botnet attack events, app hacking, and system vulnerabilities.


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