As Kenyan eCommerce Grows, So Too Does Cyber Crime

Kenyans are enjoying the fruits of an improved information and communication technology system, but unfortunately, so too are cyber criminals.

Standard Digital reports that Francis Wangusi, director general of communications commission in Kenya, explained, "With internet penetration now hitting 16.2 million, applications, such as eGovernment and eCommerce have become enablers of Kenya's development."

It is true that accelerated communication systems have benefited Kenyan merchants and consumers, but it has also painted a bull's eye on the country.

Wangusi added, "The same broadened communication superhighway that Kenyans are enjoying in business and social sphere is also providing cyber criminals with a versatile platform from where to conduct their illicit businesses with enhanced speeds."

Cyber criminals have frequently attacked Kenya's commercial banks via ATM phishing, virtual identity fraud and account hacking. Commercial banks have lost billions of shillings, and were recognized as the number one target for cyber crime.

Interestingly, even though commercial banks suffer the most from cybercrime, they were blamed for refusing to release necessary details of the cyber crime attacks. The lack of information has made it hard for investigators to prosecute cyber criminals.

The Kenya Bankers Association disagreed, and argued that commercial banks were active in trying to stop such crimes.

KBA even launched a campaign just last year that attempted to raise awareness about banking fraud and keep consumers alert.

Ms. Nuru Mugambi, communications officer at KBA, said, "Last year we launched the Kaa Chonjo campaign which is meant to sensitize bank customers on the various ways to safeguard their money against ATM fraud."

Kaa Chonjo, which translates to “Be Alert!,” encouraged bank customers to regularly check and update their accounts. Customers were asked to promptly report any strange activity and to update any account changes immediately.

There was a national cyber security forum held on May 27, where government and private sector stakeholders in ICT congregated to discuss possible solutions to help decrease cyber crime in Kenya. No decisions have been made thus far, but many recommendations were proposed to begin tackling the rising problem.

To read the full story at Standard Digital click here.

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