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Tight cyber security key in growing digital economy

Enhanced cyber security is key in growing Kenya’s status as the innovation hub in the region, this is according to the Foreign Affairs Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS) Ababu Namwamba.

Ababu said that Kenya has improved in the latest World Bank Ease of doing business going up five positions to 56 globally on attractiveness to investors up from 61 last year and attributed it to the vibrant digital innovations in the country.

Speaking on Wednesday during the ESET Kenya educative forum with various government stakeholders, Ababu said that he recently visited China and discovered that they have an app called We-Chat which is built on the concept of M-pesa.

“We have very innovative products and the government has embraced technology by going digital in service provision by launching the likes of e-citizen. However, we have suffered effects of hacking to levels you cannot imagine,” admitted Namwamba.

The CAS said that in collaboration with ESET they have launched a vibrant cyber security initiative aimed at tackling cyber threats and how government agencies can move from Cyber Security (monitoring and management) to Cyber Resilience by understanding the risks they face and incorporating incidence response to their day to day operations.

Speaking during the event, ESET East Africa CEO Ms. Karen Cherry said that ESET supports the President’s vision 2030 of economic growth through data protection for the government, organizations and individuals.

“We need to make cyber security an attractive career for the youth to equip them well with technology security skills,” she explained.

She added that ESET has reported its highest revenue in Africa recently and grown its network.

Slovakian Ambassador to Kenya, H.E. Frantisek Dlhopolcek said that the Information Communications and Technology (ICT) sector is very important for most governments and there is need to provide effective solutions to protect data.

“Cyber security is a big challenge for institutions and governments and it is also a concern for the European Union (EU),” said Dlhopolcek.

ESET Brand Ambassador Dr. Bright Gameli emphasized on the need to strictly stick to policies and strategies in regard to cyber security to acquire resilience and control.

Dr. Gameli articulated that mobile applications and business emails are easily compromised by hackers online without forgetting local government’s information and Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).

“Lack of simple code encryption is another issue that causes information to be easily compromised online”, he explained.

He furthered said that there is need  to start from basics for security solutions for instance; going for multilayered approach to security that includes monitoring and visibility even from home and being proactive.

According to Dr. Gameli, most hacking in Kenya is targeted on the financial institutions with almost half of Kenyans banks being victims with the hackers mostly being insiders aimed at monetary gains.

A recent research conducted by ESET reveals that governments across the world are the most targeted by cyber attackers.

Majority of the targets have been on sectors such as; the military, education, police, and the foreign affairs. With the government handling massive amounts of valuable data, they become a lucrative target for cyber-attacks, which calls for effective cyber security measures.

By Joseph Ng’ang’a


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