from MARIA MACHARIA in Nairobi, Kenya
NAIROBI, (CAJ News) – CYBER criminals increasingly adopting sophisticated tactics are threatening to scuttle Kenya’s finance technology (fintech) evolution and operations of public utilities.
Recent attacks have targeted vital digital infrastructure in the country, impacting both public and private institutions in East Africa’s largest economy.
Entities such as Kenya Power and Lighting Company, Kenya Railways Corporation as well as the National Transport and Safety Authority have fallen victim to this surge.
Fintech companies in Kenya are grappling with a rising tide in such attacks, which range from phishing attempts and data breaches to the scourge of ransomware campaigns.
Kenya is currently ranked 25th in the world as the most likely to be targeted for malware attacks, according to Check Point Research’s October Malware Report.
The Communications Authority of Kenya reports that the nation has witnessed 860 million cyber incidents in the past year, with an additional 123,9 million recorded during the three months leading up to September.
The increasing frequency, sophistication, and scale of these cyber threats are particularly concerning for Kenya’s critical information infrastructure.
John Paul Onyango, Check Point Country Manager: East Africa, believes a significant challenge facing the fintech sector is the separation between app development and cyber security teams, who tend to work in silos.
“Bridging this gap is imperative for a comprehensive approach to cyber security,” he advised.
Check Point recommends that firms adopt an integrated approach to cyber security and app development.
The company advocates the “3C’s” approach – Convergence, Consolidation, and Context – to ensure a unified strategy that safeguards against evolving cyber threats.
Onyango explained as Kenya’s fintech sector continues its remarkable growth, it is imperative that cyber security remains a priority.
“By breaking down silos between app development and cybersecurity teams and adopting a unified approach, businesses can effectively fortify their operations and protect their customers from the ever-present threat of cyber-attacks.”
By adopting a consolidated security approach, fintechs can pre-emptively protect against advanced attacks while optimising operational efficiency and reducing costs, according to the executive.
“Financial institutions worldwide are equipped to overcome their toughest cybersecurity challenges,” he concluded.
Other challenges faced by the fintech sector locally includein securing its data centres and trading platforms as well as migrating securely to the cloud.
– CAJ News