A cybercriminal at work.
A cybercriminal at work. Kaspersky experts have detected significant growth in complex malicious spam emails targeting organisations in various countries.[Photo/ Courtesy]

The downside of working from home.

The number of cybersecurity attacks that Kenyan organisations experienced more than doubled from 23 million in 2019 to 51 million cases in 2020, the highest since 2018, according to the 2020 Cybersecurity Report by Pan African technology firm Serianu.

Serianu attributes the sharp rise to the change in working culture necessitated by the outbreak of COVID-19 prompting most organisations, employees, and self-employed Kenyans to work from home.

During the official launch of the 2020 report on Thursday, Serianu Chief Operating Officer Joseph Mathenge cited the rise of cyber attacks as one of the two major developments had taken place in Kenya particularly and Africa generally over the past 19 months covered in the survey.

The other is the revelation that over 90 percent of Kenyans surveyed neither understand the new Data Protection Act nor properly understand its ramifications.

According to the Serianu report, 95 percent of Kenyans are mostly ignorant about it, with less than half saying they were remotely aware of its existence.

This is even though over 70 percent of the organizations interviewed acknowledged collecting sensitive personal and corporate data in the normal course of their operations.

The report paints a picture of a casual public attitude towards the Data Protection Act 2019.

Over 70 percent of respondents have not taken any steps to preserve the data that they already possess.

“This may be because there has not been an enforcement regulator in place, with the appointment of the new Data Commissioner only recently concluded,” explained Mathenge adding that within most organizations they surveyed, there is a prevailing sense of misunderstanding of what constitutes data and the consequences of its mismanagement.

Kenya, he noted, is at a crucial turning point since there are multitude technologies that expose the general population’s personal information to potential misuse.

As a result, one of the major points of note in the report is that the new Data Protection Act calls for enhanced cybersecurity vigilance due to the rise of identity theft as a major form of fraud.

The report singles out medical records as particularly vulnerable, stating that health providers are expected to be under closer scrutiny by the new Data regulator due to the sensitivity of the information they keep.

See Also>>>> Britam Steps in as Cost of Cybersecurity Hits Sh31b


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