Almost two months after Safaricom experienced an outage on M-Pesa, the company has announced a wide range of security solutions for its enterprise customers.
Safaricom attributed the outage to “a slow database response” where there was a reduction in the number of transactions being processed.
Consequently, the outage on December 8, 2018, led to the queuing of incoming transactions and a delay in responses to customers, according to Safaricom.
A second outage happened the following day at 07:19 am after the restoration of service at 10:53 pm the previous day. On December 9, the outage was, according to Safaricom, resolved within 34 minutes.
Safaricom said, “Our engineers are working with officials from both the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) and Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) to ensure continuity of services.”
The company assured, “We reiterate our commitment to uphold a high level of operational excellence in all our products and services, and assure our customers that their funds remain secure at all times.”
Enterprise customers I.T Solutions
The step comes at a good time when mobile money is making every African bankable.
On January 20, Safaricom said that its enterprise customers can now access the solutions to protect their information technology (I.T) systems.
The services include Managed Security Solutions, Security Assurance and Advisory services as well as Managed Security Operations Centre solutions.
With the new service, companies, enterprises, and individuals can secure their emails, websites, manage vulnerabilities, test and audit I.T systems and access real-time monitoring among other services
“We realise that customers all have unique needs and different budget levels. Our I.T cybersecurity solutions are designed to cater for each customer’s needs so that they can get the best value and strategically select their solutions,” said Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore.
He added, “We are excited to see that the solution is gathering interest with some of our customers in the financial services and transport industries already signing up for the service.”
Mobile money safety against fraud
Last year, Kenyans transacted more than two trillion shillings in three months thus the need to preserve the fidelity of mobile money.
Following the M-Pesa outage, Safaricom hosted a mobile money fraud prevention forum where the Director of Public Prosecutions, Noordin Haji, called on all stakeholders in financial institutions and the banking sector to work together to strengthen the fight against mobile money fraud and cybercrime.
Haji said that there was need to fortify governance and law enforcement to fight crime.
“There is need to include critical components of mobile money and fraud prevention strategy in order to collaboratively fight this crime which is evolving by the day,” he added.
Safaricom Chief Corporate Security Officer Nicholas Mulila said that a lot of progress has been made in reducing mobile money losses.
The move, he said, has been driven by strengthening controls around the system and collaborating with all stakeholders.
Mobile money losses
“We have made significant progress in the last one year, with mobile money losses moving from Kshs 90 million down to Ksh 20 million this year (2018),” said
He added, “We will continue to collaborate with investigative arms of government to ensure that we seal all loopholes that may expose our customers to criminals.”
This was the fourth Mobile Money Fraud forum organized by Safaricom in 2018 with an aim of bringing together stakeholders in the financial sector and Fintechs in an effort to discuss ways to curb mobile money fraud and cybercrime activities in the country.
Haji noted that while all measures have been put in place to prosecute criminals, there was need to train officers and share intelligence which will be necessary to curb the crimes.
Global cybersecurity and mobile phone vulnerabilities
A new global cyber security Report from Vodafone highlights that the more cyber ready a business becomes, the better its overall business outcomes.
According to the Cyber Ready
Despite this, the research also shows that only 24 per cent of businesses globally could reasonably call themselves cyber ready.
“The fifth generation of the cyber landscape gives criminals a wider attack surface and thus more opportunities to take advantage of it.
In addition, new vulnerabilities, whether through Bluetooth or Wi-Fi, mean both organisations and consumers alike need to be aware of the risks mobile devices pose,” said Jeremy Kaye, Head of Mobile Security, Check Point Software Technologies Ltd in their 2018 cybersecurity report.
In its 2017 Internet Security Report, Software Company Symantec reported that malicious emails were the weapon of choice for a wide range of cyber-attacks in 2016, used by everyone from state- sponsored cyber espionage groups to mass-mailing ransomware gangs.
According to the report, one in 131 emails sent were malicious, the highest rate in five years.