Inside Politics

Cybercrime rises during pandemic

Thursday, September 10th, 2020 00:12 |
Cybercrime. Photo/Courtesy
Cybercrime. Photo/Courtesy

Hacking activities targeting corporations spiked in the last six months as digital thieves took advantage of weakened security as the pandemic forced new work-from-home policies, researchers say.

Liquid Telecom said yesterday that companies are reporting increased instances of pony-trekking mainly through password compromises due to the unprecedented changes in the way firms and their employees are currently forced to do business.

A new report dubbed IT and Financial Decision Makers views on Cybersecurity in South Africa and Kenya published on September 4 noted that ransomware attacks increased significantly from March as the country curtailed movement to help slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.


“In Kenya, password compromises and insider threats were the biggest cyber threats.

Just over half of the businesses surveyed have experienced a cybersecurity threat during the Covid-19 pandemic, with 46 per cent saying yes in South Africa and 75 per cent in Kenya,” reads the report, which also noted that phishing or social engineering attacks and insider threats were also on the rise.

Financial institutions like commercial banks and credit unions as well as government institutions happened to be the most vulnerable in the hands of the faceless criminals.

Estimated 40 Kenyan  and 69 South African companies who took part in the survey confirmed financial loss, exit of customers, business closure and declining sales among other damages as the ensuing impact cyber-attacks had on their operations.

Other business concerns included loss of confidential company or personal information, hacking of company databases, safety and protection of data as well as leaking of confidential client, employee and company information.

“And while many employees across the continent are returning to work, organisations are embracing a hybrid model of digital and on-site working. As such there are increasing concerns over the security of data, shadow IT and the financial implications of a security breach information and loss of data,” noted the report,” said David Behr, Group Chief Digital Officer, Liquid Telecom.

The survey confirms existing fears by several companies which continue to lose billions of shillings in cyber-attacks that involve fake news, ransomware, cyber pyramid schemes and cyber bullying among others.

In 2017 for instance, Kenya’s top leading companies Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) and mobile operator Safaricom reported suspicions of systems hacking with the former losing Sh 4billion from a hack into its systems.

During the same period, Uganda’s Makerere University’s systems were hacked in what saw 50 students deleted from the 2017 graduation list, an attack that also impacted the country’s Finance ministry’s website as well as the country’s commercial banks, following an alert from its national intelligence service.

Data released by the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) in April this year further showed that Kenyan organizations had been hit by about 37.1 million cyber threats in the last quarter of 2019 compared to the previous quarter, which was a 47.3 percent increase.

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