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Communication Authority Tightens the Noose on Cyber Attacks

Communication Authority of Kenya (CA) wants mobile network operators to enhance compliance with SIM card registration to protect Kenyans from threats affecting the telecommunication industry.

The CA Director General Ezra Chiloba says the rights of consumers in the digital space are weightier and must be protected.

He made the remarks during the World Consumer Rights Day 2023 that was commemorated by the Authority in Kisumu County on Wednesday.

Mr Chiloba noted that the sector’s major challenge is the proliferation of counterfeit ICT equipment and accessories into Kenya’s market that endangers the lives of the users.

“The use of counterfeit, illegal and mobile devices not approved by Communication Authority compromise the quality of service, affect the health of consumers and infringes on manufacturers’ rights,” he said.

He added that as a regulator, they have developed guidelines to ensure all the telco firms account for every individual using a mobile phone through sim card registration.

This is intended to weed out the rampant cases of spam texts, impersonation, cyberbullying, sim swap, extortion, and internet fraud.

Mr Chiloba noted that the compliance rate of the sim card registration exercise conducted by the mobile network operators stands at 93 percent up from 48 percent recorded during the onset of the exercise in 2022.

He further noted that as the Government seeks to digitize 5,000 of its services by June, the Authority has scaled up its monitoring systems to secure the digital platform.

This will build the trust of Kenyans in the digital space and ensure they receive all government services without any glitches.

“The Communication Authority receives complaints on online harassment, system hacking, and other online vices daily. We have engaged and empowered different state and non-state entities and actors to combat cybercrime,” stated the Director General.

Further, he noted that the Consumer Rights Day celebrations held under the theme of ‘empowering consumers through better quality of service and experience,’ was key in fostering consumer education on cyber security and the Government’s aspiration to optimise the use of ICT through automation of processes.

Speaking at the same event, Kisumu Governor Anyang’ Nyong’o acknowledged the revolution in mobile money and the internet that has greatly transformed the lives of many Kenyans.

In a speech read on his behalf by the Deputy Governor, Dr Mathew Owili, Prof Nyong’o pointed out that Kenya boasts of several ICT innovative ideas that if well nurtured could spur the region’s economic growth.

However, the governor noted with concern the increasing threats of cyber crimes that tend to negatively dent the sector.

“The digital money environment has been laced with serious detrimental innovations. We continue to see the mushrooming of criminal activities in the digital world that cause untold misery to users. It is time that the Communication Authority partners with the other players in the industry to find lasting solutions to such criminal activities,” said the Governor.

He urged the Authority to move with speed to tighten the digital money platforms to curb the massive losses of cash by banks and individual users through system hackers.

By Robert Ojwang’

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