Kenya has been facing an alarming surge in cyber attacks with the number of attacks skyrocketing from 7.7 million in 2018 to a staggering 444 million in 2023.
This increase has made Kenya one of the top three most targeted countries in Africa when it comes to cyber attacks.
According to Kaspersky, a Russian multinational cybersecurity and anti-virus provider company, a report identified Nigeria, South Africa, and Kenya as the African countries experiencing the most substantial online threats, The three countries featured prominently in the global top 100 for online threats, adding that Nigeria currently ranks 50th worldwide for online threats, South Africa ranks 82nd, and Kenya is 35th on the global list.
One of the most notable cyber attacks in Kenya was reported by the BBC, involving the eCitizen portal. This portal is used by the public to access over 5,000 government services, including passport applications and renewal, e-visas for non-citizens visiting Kenya, as well as driving licenses, ID cards, and health records. The attack caused a major disruption and prevented these services from being issued to the public.
In July 2023, Microsoft released information suggesting that a group of hackers gained access to email accounts, affecting approximately 25 organizations, including government agencies. This further highlighted the vulnerability of Kenya’s cybersecurity infrastructure and raised concerns about the potential magnitude of cyber attacks in the country.
Not only were government services affected, but mobile-money banking services also fell victim to cyber attacks. The widely popular mobile-money service, M-Pesa, which is used by millions of people in Kenya for making payments at shops, public transport vehicles, hotels, and other platforms, experienced difficulties. This disruption had a severe impact on the daily lives of people who rely on mobile-money to receive and spend money, especially those who do not have access to traditional banking services.
The cyber attacks also extended to various government agencies and institutions. The National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA), Kenya Power and Lighting Company (KPLC), and Kenya Railways all experienced service disruptions. These attacks not only disrupted the smooth functioning of these institutions but also raised concerns about the safety and security of critical infrastructure in Kenya.
The cyber attack against the eCitizen portal was claimed by a group calling themselves Anonymous Sudan, who portrayed themselves as Sudanese cyber-warriors. According to several reports, the group is linked to Russia. However, the group has denied any connection to Russia. The motives behind these attacks are still unclear, but it is speculated that they are related to the internal affairs of Sudan and those who interfere in them.
To address this growing concern, the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Cabinet Secretary, Eliud Owalo, confirmed the need for immediate action. The government of Kenya should prioritize enhancing cybersecurity measures and investing in advanced technologies to protect critical infrastructure and ensure the safety of citizens’ personal data.
The Rising Tide of Global Cyber Crime
In today’s interconnected world, the threat of cyber crime looms large. With the rapid advancement of technology, cyber criminals have found new ways to exploit vulnerabilities and wreak havoc across the globe. This rising tide of global cybercrime has become a pressing issue for individuals, businesses, and governments alike.
One region that has been particularly vulnerable to cyber attacks is Africa. According to a report by Cyber Magazine, approximately 90% of African businesses were operating without any cybersecurity protocols in place. This lack of preparedness has made them easy targets for cyber threats such as hacking, phishing, and malware attacks.
One country in Africa that has been heavily impacted by cyber crime is Kenya. In 2023 alone, cyberattacks in Kenya increased by a staggering 76%. The most dominant form of attack in the nation has been exploits, which have caused significant damage to businesses and individuals. Thankfully, efforts have been made to combat this growing problem, with 177,000 incidents being successfully blocked so far.
However, Kenya is not the only country facing this onslaught of cyber crime. Across many African nations, cyberattacks have seen a dramatic rise. This alarming trend calls for urgent action to strengthen cybersecurity measures. Businesses in particular need to prioritize the implementation of robust security protocols to protect their sensitive data and safeguard their operations.
The impact of cyber crime is not limited to Africa alone. It has become a global phenomenon that threatens the stability and security of nations around the world. In fact, the rise in cyber crime has prompted countries like India to call for an increase in the number of cybersecurity professionals to help combat this growing menace.
The consequences of cyber crime can be far-reaching. Businesses can suffer significant financial losses from data breaches and intellectual property theft. Individuals can have their personal information compromised, leading to identity theft and fraud. Governments can face serious security breaches that compromise national security.
To address this global crisis, collaboration between governments, businesses, and cybersecurity experts is crucial. Governments must take proactive steps to strengthen regulations and enact stronger penalties for cyber criminals. Businesses must invest in cutting-edge cybersecurity technologies and educate their employees about the importance of online safety. Cybersecurity professionals must constantly stay ahead of evolving threats and develop innovative solutions to mitigate risks.