- Cyber threats increased by 943 per cent in the three months to December 2023, with 123 million cases detected in the previous quarter.
- In response to these threats, Kenya’s National Cyber Security Centre issued 8.06 million advisories during the period under review.
- This represented a 44.4 per cent increase compared to the 5.6 million advisories issued between June and September.
The Communications Authority of Kenya reports that the number of cyber threats in Kenya increased in the three-month period leading up to December 2023.
In its 2023/24 Q2 cyber security report, the regulator notes that the number of cyber threats rose to more than 1.2 billion cases, up from 123 million threats detected in the previous quarter, representing a 943 percent increase.
The increase is attributed to the enhancement of Kenya’s cyber threat monitoring capabilities and the increased exploitation of ‘system vulnerabilities,’ driven by the increased deployment and use of Internet devices.
Malware, brute force, web application, and mobile application attacks stood at 13.2 million, 9.7 million, 0.07 million, and 0.05 million cases, respectively.
“In response to the threats, the National Cyber Security Centre issued 8.06 million advisories in the period under review,” the report reads. This represented a 44.4 percent increase compared to the 5.6 million that were issued in the previous quarter.
“During the period, system misconfiguration attacks were the most prevalent, aligning with global trends in cyber threat activity, where malware attacks, and more specifically ransomware, were most rampant,” states the CA.
Cyber threats in Kenya
Kenya’s Broadcasting and Telecommunications Principal Secretary, Edward Kisiang’ani, commented on the released figures, noting that the top targeted industries included Internet Service Providers (ISPs), cloud service providers, government, and the education sector.
He mentioned the potential enormous impact on the economy in the event of any successful cyber-attacks on the aforementioned sectors.
According to the regulator, Kenya experienced 860 million cyberattacks in the preceding Financial Year 2022–2023. The country’s critical information infrastructure (CIIs) was the most targeted niche, witnessing an upsurge in cyber threats in terms of frequency, sophistication, and volume.
Of the attacks, 79 percent resulted from cyber criminals exploiting flaws and vulnerabilities in organizations’ internal controls, system procedures, and information systems, which they used to gain unauthorized access to computer systems.
PS Kisiang’ani, however, now says the government is keen on upgrading threat detection systems as well as upskilling human resources to effectively play their roles in the fight against cybersecurity.
“In light of the increased complexity and sophistication of cyber threats, we also remain at hand to collaborate with countries in the region in mitigating cross-border cyber threats within the global realities we all experience,” the PS added.
Global forum on bridging digital divide and curbing cyber threats
He spoke in Nairobi during the first African preparatory gathering for the 2025 World Telecommunications Development Conference.
The event, organized by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), aims to promote a number of legislative and infrastructure changes that will hasten the closing of the gap in digital innovation.
This is primarily to ensure everyone has an egalitarian digital future.
Pushing the African agenda through the African Telecommunications Union (ATU), African country representatives during the meeting committed to heading to the conference with common positions that will safeguard the interests of the continent.
ATU Secretary-General John Omo said the Union will advocate for favorable policies and regulations, as well as for improved investment in the development of telecommunications on the continent.
“We will also seek to present Africa’s interests to ensure the African voice shapes the global telecommunication/ICT agenda,” Omo said.
David Mugonyi, Director-General of the Communications Authority of Kenya, made a request to the ITU to support the area in administering Universal Service Funds.
According to Mugonyi, “the majority of African nations have adequate resources for these funds, but low utilization rates continue to be a problem, effectively depriving residents in underserved and unserved areas of the transformative advantages associated with ICTs.”
“Building capacity and exchanging experiences in the management and administration of Universal Access funds could unlock ICTs’ full potential and release our people from the chains of destitution and poverty,” Mugonyi said.