Kenya opens centre to combat cyber-crime

News by Rwakenya Rukundo Edgar

The African continent has seen an upsurge in cyber-attacks, particularly on telecommunications infrastructure and especially via DDoS, leading Kenya to set up a new Cyber Coordination Centre.

The Kenya Communication Authority (CA) has established a Cyber Coordination Centre, aimed at responding to critical infrastructure cyber-attacks which have led to increased insecurity in the country, CA chairman Ngene Gituku said in an exclusive interview with SCMagazineUK.com.

“[The] Cyber Coordination Centre is aimed at curbing increasing threats posed by cyber-criminals in the country and the region at large which require both institutions and individuals to take all necessary measures to safeguard themselves,” said Gituku.

According to Gituku, the centre will work closely and collaborate with other national CERTs and international organisations with a view to facilitate exchange of information and the knowledge needed to reduce vulnerabilities, mitigate risks and react to threats and attacks.

The coordination centre will also facilitate closer collaboration locally with relevant stakeholders and globally with CERTs and international information security organisations as well as monitoring cyber-security issues across Africa

Gituku told SC that many private firms and organisations are ill equipped to handle the complex and multiple threats that they face, thus they should look for managed security service providers to ensure protection against attacks and breaches.

The African continent  is faced with increasing threats, mainly from social engineering scams, online banking fraud, mobile money fraud and malware attacks which need a more proactive approach in terms of curriculum, realignment legislation and compliance, said Tyrus Kamau, information security consultant and chair of the AfricaHackOn.

"There is a need for comprehensive research and coordination in order to fight these criminals in the region," Kamau commented.

Most of Africa's cyber-attacks are on telecom companies and the most common form of attack is distributed denial of service (DDoS), Kamau added.

“Cyber-security in the region is a very serious problem and needs to be a priority for local business leaders as it's often seen as an isolated IT problem and not a business issue,” Patrick Matu, compliance, forensics and cyber expert for East Africa added.

Cyber criminals are evolving and innovating new ways to target their victims and this should lead to a review of the cyber-threat landscape to understand what kinds of threats business might face and adjusting security measures accordingly, Matu added.

According to Control Risks' cyber-threat intelligence, there has been a rapid increase in advanced and persistent threats in East Africa where Kenya alone lost an estimated KES 2 billion (US$23 million) in 2015.

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