By James Ratemo, Nairobi, Kenya
Kaspersky Lab has urged Kenyan companies to put the right security and strategies in place against cybercrime to avid losses and reputational damage.
Bethwel Opil, Channel Sales Manager at Kaspersky Lab East Africa, spoke to BiztechaAfrica on Kenya’s cyber security situation.
Q: What major threats affected Kenya in Q1?
A: According to Kaspersky Security Network (KSN) statistics for January-March 2015, 41% of users in the Middle East, Turkey and the African (META) region reported security incidents related to local networks and removable media, while 21% of users faced web-related threats during the first quarter of 2015 – this included users in Kenya. 33%-37% of users in Kenya were affected by local threats, according to KSN.
Additionally, depending on the country, anywhere from a quarter to more than half of the organisations in these regions stated they faced; viruses and other malware, spam, phishing and software vulnerabilities within the past year. Along with these threats, businesses were also preoccupied with network intrusions and targeted attacks, DDoS (distributed denial of service), loss of corporate data on mobile devices, data leaks.
Q: Are managers employing required strategies to counter the threats?
A: In our experience, company managers are starting to understand how serious cybercrime is becoming in Kenya. However, there are still a number of companies in the region that have adopted the view that ‘it won’t happen to them’ and believe that their company will not be attacked by cybercriminals.
Kaspersky Lab urges all companies to ensure that they have the right security and strategies in place, to ensure that they do not fall victim to cybercrime later, as the costs incurred by a company can be very high – and of course there is the reputational damage which may be experienced.
Q: What should be done to ensure safety for Internet and gadget users?
A: Firstly, users should always be aware of the reality that cyber criminalsare always on the look out to ‘attack’ – so every Internet experience a user undertakes becomes a potential window of opportunity, so precautions have to be taken. For example, if messages pop up on the screen while users are online, they should not simply click on any pop up messages, but rather make sure that it is not a virus or that is was sent from someone trustworthy.
Kaspersky Lab advices the following:
- Users should always make sure that while they are online via their computer or smartphone, to connect via a private Wi-Fi that requires a password as this will protect users while they are online. Public Wi-Fi areas can make users very vulnerable to online attacks.
- Users should enforce Virtual Private Networks (VPN). VPNs provide a secure connection over the Internet between a user and the data or websites, which they are connecting to – and encrypts the data exchanged across that connection.
- Lastly, users should ensure that they have the right protection on their smartphones’s or PC’s, such as Kaspersky Internet Security – multi-device, which protects a consumer while they are online on their macs, smartphones and PCs – all at the same time.
Q: What projections are there for Kenya regarding threats?
A: While technology and concepts like The Internet of Things and Big Data are offering companies across Africa (including Kenya) numerous opportunities to deliver effective content to their customers, this also unlocks organisations to a variety cyber threats if they are not protected correctly.
The number of incidents where data has been breached has increased over the past few years, and cyber threats are a big dilemma with regards to securing data. The goal of these attacks is to obtain personal information for financial gain. However, despite the increase in these kinds of attacks, companies still do not have the right security in place.
Additionally, we believe will see more cyber attacks through social media, as most consumers only have one password for all their accounts, which can leave users in a very vulnerable position.
The reality is that cyber criminals will only get smarter and will continue looking for the new ways of gaining profit. That is why it is essential that users and businesses are aware of existing risks in the Internet and understand the necessary protection measures they need to take.