An illustrative image of a cybercriminal at work. The Microsoft Security Intelligence 2018 shows that Cybercriminals fleeced Kenyan businesses Sh29.5 billion during the course of the year.

More and more technology firms continue to raise the red flag on the Kenyan economy’s vulnerability to cyber attacks, the latest being Microsoft which says that the country lost Ksh29.5 billion to cyber crime in 2018.

The Microsoft Security Intelligence 2018 warns that as authorities adjust to the recent wave of cyber crime, hackers are becoming more sophisticated and hurting Kenyan businesses as a result.

Further, the report also makes similar observations to The 2018 Africa Cyber security Report drafted by Pan African cyber security consultancy firm Serianu which also estimates that Kenya’s economy lost Ksh29.8 billion to online criminals in 2018.

The financial sector is believed to be the biggest casualty of cyber crime. According to Microsoft’s report, banks accounted for 18% of the total attacks while payment solutions accounted for 10% of the attacks.

Microsoft’s findings are a wake up call for stakeholders in the industry with the Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KNCCI) having already called for tougher laws to curb the vice.

The 2018 Africa Cyber security Report states that the country has an acute shortage of cyber security professionals.

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{Read: Cost of cyber crime hits Ksh15bn, new report says}

“Kenya only has 1700 skilled cyber-security professionals which is way below the required number. 60% of the companies are currently facing a shortage,” said Microsoft’s Country Manager for Kenya Sebuh Haileleul during the release of the report.

Serianu’s report shows that ATM attacks and phising attempts (fraudulent attempt to obtain sensitive information such as usernames, passwords and credit card details by disguising oneself as a trustworthy entity) were frequent during the year as were SIM swap cases.

According to Serianu’s report, SIM swap has become a lucrative enterprise in Kenya particularly because of the increased adoption of mobile money services and mobile number based authentication.

{See also: More Saccos targeted by cyber criminals}

“Cybercriminals gather enough information on a target such as ID details and Pin numbers etc through confidence tricks they create a false identity,” reads the report.

“Using this information, the attackers then contact the service provider and request for a SIM card replacement and thereafter start transacting using your phone number,”adds the report.

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Samuel Gitonga is a senior reporter at BUSINESS TODAY. Email: [email protected]

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