Kenyan security personnel have intensified vigilance to prevent cyber attack on sensitive government installations and business premises, officials said on Wednesday.
Cabinet Secretary for Defense Raychelle Omamo said the government had strengthened pre-emptive measures in the wake of growing threat of cybercrime in the country.
Speaking during a national cyber security conference in Nairobi, Omamo said the government has maintained round the clock vigilance to prevent criminal elements from infiltrating and damaging cyberspace.
“The increased use and dependence on information technology has exposed the country and its citizens to premeditated security threats. We are on the lookout for adversaries who might exploit our networks to cause harm,” Omamo said.
Both the civilian and security arms of government attended the national cyber security conference to evaluate Kenya’s preparedness to ward off attacks on the digital infrastructure.
Omamo said the government has enhanced inter-agency coordination and public outreach to minimize the threat of cyber attacks.
“We have undertaken several initiatives including development of a national cyber security strategy, capacity building and public awareness to pre-empt any attack on the digital sphere,” said Omamo.
Kenya ranks among African countries with the highest vulnerability to cyber attacks due to its huge internet penetration and use in all spheres of life.
Omamo noted the risk of hacking to digital infrastructure owned by state agencies and the private sector by criminal syndicates remained high.
“Cyber attacks have evolved rapidly and are diverse in nature. Perpetrators are mainly criminal networks seeking financial gain and terrorist groups seeking to attack civilians or damage our defense installations,” Omamo said.
She disclosed that Kenya has developed a cyber-defense strategy that seeks to strengthen national security while propelling ICT driven economic development.
The East Africa nation has strengthened its capacity to mitigate cyber attacks from local and foreign adversaries.
The Principal Secretary for Defense, Ambassador Kirimi Kaberia said the government and private sector have teamed up to share knowledge and best practices on protecting the cyber space from attacks.
“We have invested in adequate pre-emptive measures to ensure our cyberspace is resilient to malicious attacks,” Kaberia said.
He added that security of the cyberspace is critical to Kenya’s economic growth, territorial integrity, social cohesion and political stability.