The Computer Society of Kenya

Since 1986

Online Christmas shopping now target of cyber criminals

cybercrimeBUSINESS DAILY By Winnie Onyando

Thursday November 25, 2021

Cybercriminals now increasingly targeting online shopping platforms that operate through e-payment systems, researchers now warn.

Recent research conducted by Kaspersky, a global cyber security and digital company, shows an increase of 208 percent in online payment fraud amid Black Friday and Christmas season.

“We always witness intensified scamming activity amid the Black Friday season. Perhaps a bit more unexpected is the attention being paid to e-payment systems. This time, we discovered a huge increase by 208percent in a number of attacks mimicking the most popular payment systems,” says Tatyana Shcherbakova, a security expert at Kaspersky.

“Of course, every new payment application is seen by scammers as a new opportunity to potentially exploit users.”

Online shopping platforms such as Alibaba, Amazon, Jumia, Walmart, eBay and Mercado are now the most targeted platforms by online fraudsters.


Agency defends master's degree rule for CA jobs



A State agency has defended a master’s degree requirement for two senior positions at the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) advertised last month, on grounds that they are technical positions requiring a higher level of competence.

In response to a petition challenging the requirement, the State Corporations Advisory Committee (SCAC) said the two positions — director of frequency spectrum management and director of competition management — will also form a pool from which a successor to the director general position would be sourced.

The case was filed by Anthony Manyara arguing that the move is illegal and is meant to lock out deserving members of staff from being promoted, and also prevent qualified members of the public from applying for the jobs.

Employment and labour relations court last month froze the recruitment, pending the determination of the case. Other than the two positions, CA also announced 43 positions to be filled internally.


How banks can handle data protection hurdles



The threat and reality of data larceny and exploitation has made data security a matter of major concern to consumers and regulators globally.

The pervasive risk of data larceny and tampering has given rise to a number of data protection measures, both at the systemic and institutional levels. Further, the risk of infringing on a customer’s privacy is growing by the day given the increased frequency and granularity of the data being collected and advances in the technology for processing the same. This has led to the need for laws to secure personal data privacy.

The enactment into law of the Data Protection Act in November 2019 was a watershed moment. Designed to bring the protection of personal data from exploitation in Kenya into the 21st century, the Act presents a significant step forward because it facilitates lawful use of personal data, including research, thus strengthening individuals’ fundamental rights.


How technology is transforming medical education



The field of medicine and in particular, medical education is not immune to universal, rapidly changing technology. Covid-19 has further laid bare the reality that in today’s world where pandemics and the effects of climate change are likely to occur, learning institutions cannot always provide in-person education — making the case for investing in education technology.

Several advances in this area like simulations, virtual education, and e-learning platforms have evolved as pedagogical strategies to facilitate an active, learner-centered teaching approach.

Hence, it’s important that educators consider how these innovative technologies could improve or hinder the learning experience of medical trainees. In advocating their use, educators must discern which learning-assisting technologies merit usage in different scenarios as well as apply them contextually.

Technological tools available include e-learning, a web-based technology that extends teaching past the classroom and permits learners to hear and engage educators in lieu of or in addition to traditional classroom lectures. The potential impact of e-learning on education seems limitless. E-learning helps educators connect with diverse learners across vast distances.


E-waste becomes global menace in Covid-19 era


Friday October 22, 2021

This year’s worldwide electronic waste will be a mountain of an estimated 57.4 million tonnes, a report by Global E-waste Monitor released on World E-Waste Day indicates.

The waste, which is said to be heavier than the Great Wall of China, earth’s heaviest artificial object, has seen rapid accumulation over the Covid-19 pandemic period as people dumped obsolete devices and purchased new ones as the new normal pushed them to work from home.

Global E-waste Monitor’s data shows that an estimated 53.6 million metric tonnes of electronic waste were generated in 2019, a 21 per cent jump in the five years since 2014.

What now concerns e-waste experts is the prediction that global e-waste will hit 74 million metric tonnes by 2030 as technological obsolescence coerces people to fill up landfills with waste.

An emerging viewpoint of the e-waste issue is the ever-rising world demand for data and digital services.


Africa internet riches plundered, contested by China broker


Friday October 01, 2021

KAMPALA, Uganda (AP) — Outsiders have long profited from Africa’s riches of gold, diamonds, and even people. Digital resources have proven no different.

Millions of internet addresses assigned to Africa have been waylaid, some fraudulently, including through insider machinations linked to a former top employee of the nonprofit that assigns the continent’s addresses. Instead of serving Africa’s internet development, many have benefited spammers and scammers, while others satiate Chinese appetites for pornography and gambling.

New leadership at the nonprofit, AFRINIC, is working to reclaim the lost addresses. But a legal challenge by a deep-pocketed Chinese businessman is threatening the body’s very existence.

The businessman is Lu Heng, a Hong Kong-based arbitrage specialist. Under contested circumstances, he obtained 6.2 million African addresses from 2013 to 2016. That’s about 5% of the continent’s total — more than Kenya has.


KCB targeted in Sh2bn cyber criminals heist


Friday October 01, 2021

KCB Group  stopped a Sh2 billion attempted fraud on its banking system last year, underscoring the increase in brazen online attacks during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The bank Thursday made public the attempted fraud without giving details on whether the attack was from foreign hackers or local techies.

Kenya’s highly digitised economy, linked with mobile money through telcos and banks, has made the country a target for cybercrime and online fraudsters, with lenders losing hundreds of millions of shillings annually.

“In 2020, the Group successfully prevented a theft of Sh2 billion, in attempted fraud, thanks to our robust cybersecurity systems,” said KCB without giving details of arrest or legal action over the heist.

The bank made the revelation through its sustainability report, which says it prevented 3,624 other cyberattacks and managed to stop 663 attempted fraud cases.


Safaricom sets date for commercial 5G network launch


Thursday September 23, 2021

Safaricom  will increase its fifth-generation (5G) sites to 200 by the end of the year and commercialise the super-fast services in 2022.

The leading telco, which in March launched the 5G technology with 15 sites, says it wants to take high-speed Internet to additional towns.

Safaricom chief executive Peter Ndegwa Wednesday said the company would use the up to 200 sites for testing the upgraded network as it seeks to capitalise on burgeoning mobile Internet use in the country.

The 5G service is a central part of its attempts to further expand its data business to counter slower growth in voice calls revenue.

“This year is a trial phase and we intend to have 150 to 200 sites coming from the first use case of homes, especially in places where we do not have fibre,” Mr Ndegwa said.

“We will be able to test on such areas and help customers in terms of speed and reliability and from next year we can be able to commercialise a bit faster but I will come with that at the appropriate time.”


Digital age has bred many lazy, rushed communicators

woman-emojisDAILY NATION By Caroline Njunge 

Monday September 13, 2021

We have become lazy communicators, and technology, I think, is to blame. We have become so lethargic in how we express ourselves that even when our intention is to convey empathy or console those grieving, we end up offending them instead.

You’re probably wondering what I am going on about. I am talking about those annoying emojis that we use with abandon, and which have taken the place of words. How many times has a friend, relative, or acquaintance broken sad news on a WhatsApp or Telegram group you are in, say news of their parent’s or child’s death, only for you, or several of you in the group, to respond to the devastating news with a crying, tearful or shocked emoji? A yellow-faced comical face that will never look sad in spite of the waterfall of tears it seems to be shedding.

What happened to the good old-fashioned phone call or personal heart-felt message directly sent to the grieving person? One that conveyed genuine empathy? Instead, we send a message intended for one to a multitude, which, if you asked me, makes it just another impersonal forward.


The rise and rise of online free speech in Kenya

socialmediaDAILY NATION BY Joseph Wangui

Tuesday September 07, 2021

Government's power to control and gag the freedom of expression through social media platforms is slowly diminishing, thanks to the bloggers and rights activists.

In the last eight years, the two groups have also reshaped the country's penal code and the criminal laws through various petitions filed in court against the State.

The arrest and prosecution of bloggers has led to a wide interpretation of the constitution and unsettlement of other laws used by the government to control the freedom of expression on the internet and criticism of public officers.

Right to criticise public officers

In one of the judgments, High Court Judge Wilfrida Okwany stated that "public office bestows on the public officer servant leadership, and therefore, the right to criticise public officers should not be criminalised merely as a means of suppressing dissent".


How media can tap new tech to enrich content



Traditional media is late to the AI party. The sector resisted developments until startups, social media, and search juggernauts irreversibly moved their cheese.

Artificial intelligence runs on data and models. Solutions should begin by uncovering the motivation. Is it driving engagement, increasing subscriptions, reducing churn, or unlocking a new demographic? Today I explore three objectives.


Personalisation brings relevance and stickability, which primes audiences for monetisation. You have already engaged with dynamic feeds on social networks, where what you see and what another sees is different depending on your profile and variety of signals.

ByteDance, the parent company of news aggregator Toutiao and social network TikTok stands out in its use of artificial intelligence to curate content through its 4,000 partners.


Cyberattacks fall 13pc as firms boost security systems



Cyber-attacks on Kenyan organisations fell 13 percent in the first half of 2021, a new industry report shows, after firms strengthened their security systems to detect and prevent attacks.

Latest data from global cybersecurity company Kaspersky shows that malware attacks fell to 28.3 million from 32 million in the same period last year.

Kaspersky Africa Enterprise sales manager Bethwel Opil said malicious softwares or malware can get onto devices through clicking of infected links or adverts, opening an attachment in a spam email or downloading a compromised app.

“All countries but Kenya saw the relative growth of all malware attacks. Ethiopia and Nigeria have seen an increase of 20 percent and 23 percent respectively and South Africa an increase of 14 percent while Kenya’s number of attacks decreased by 13 percent,” Kaspersky said in a statement.


Five reasons companies should use hybrid cloud



This year is being defined by businesses attempting to recover, build better resilience and restructure their operations following change as a result of the global Covid-19 pandemic.

The ability to adapt to the new world of work and the additional challenges that now lie ahead will be the defining factor for those who will maintain business success – and those who won’t.

Although companies had previously set long-term goals for their digital transformation, the pandemic has accelerated the adoption of digital solutions to ensure business continuity and sustainability.

Hybrid cloud has provided enterprises with a trusted and capable foundation to adapt to changing market needs.

Here are five key reasons that amplify the case for adoption of hybrid cloud


Equity’s tech unit takes on Safaricom in Internet race



Equity Group’s  financial technology subsidiary has upgraded to a high-speed Internet connection network in the battle for a larger share of the fast-growing mobile data business dominated by Safaricom #ticker#SCOM.

Finserve Ltd, which offers mobile telephony and Internet banking services on the Equitel platform, has rolled out 4G network broadband in a Covid economy that has spurred demand for faster Internet connectivity to enable remote working and learning.

Mobile data has become a major driver of revenue in the telecoms sector.

Finserve says Equitel’s shift to a 4G high-speed broadband network offers its more than 1.5 million subscribers faster speeds to browse, stream, download and upload videos, as well as files at a time workplaces, are fast transitioning to a hybrid working model.


Duo sues Mucheru for ‘handpicking’ CA board members


Tuesday August 03, 2021 

Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) has been sued over the appointment of the board of directors without subjecting the positions to competition.

The petitioners told the High Court that ICT Cabinet secretary Joe Mucheru handpicked the four board members, contrary to the law.

In the case, Dr Salesio Mbogo and Joel Itube challenged the appointment of Mahmoud Mohamed Noor, Paul Muraguri Mureithi, Jackson Kiprotich Kemboi and Laura Chite, saying the positions were not filled competitively and on merit.

The four were appointed in a gazette notice published on July 12.

They said no vacancy was declared in the Kenya Gazette or on the official website of the ministry and there was no selection panel for the purpose of selecting suitable candidates.


Rwanda jails 8 Kenyans in EquityBank hacking case



Wednesday July 07, 2021

Eight Kenyans arrested in Rwanda for hacking Equity Bank  have been handed eight-year jail terms and fined Sh5.6 million.

The eight are part of a 12-man gang arrested in 2019 by the Rwandan Investigation Bureau (RIB) that included three Rwandese nationals and a Ugandan.

Regional security teams had trailed the gang linked to bank hacking attempts in Kenya and Uganda and had notified Rwandan officials when they set up shop there.

The members of an organised group were arrested while hacking into Equity Bank accounts and funnelling the cash to Rwandans to draw out funds through Eazzy banking and ATMs.


Audit flags Sh4.4bn Konza smart city job payment


Monday June 14, 2021

The Auditor-General has raised the red flag over direct payments of Sh4.4 billion from a Chinese lender to telecoms giant Huawei for the construction of the Konza Data Centre.

Nancy Gathungu says the lender could not produce documents to validate the payments to Huawei, raising concerns that taxpayers could lose billions of shillings through unsubstantiated payment demands.

The Konza project, conceived in 2017 by the ICT ministry and Huawei, entails the development of core infrastructure including a national cloud data centre, a smart ICT network, a public safe city and smart traffic solution, and a government cloud and enterprise service.

The Chinese tech giant Huawei was picked to develop the Konza Data Centre and Smart City.

“Annexes to the contract containing the terms and conditions of the contract including timelines, deliverables, and payment schedules in support of the payments were not provided,” Ms Gathungu said in the latest audit of the State Department for ICT tabled in Parliament last week.


Agency bets on tech to lock out cartels from blood banks


Monday June 07, 2021

Kenya requires between 500,000 to one million units of blood a year, yet collects less than a quarter of that volume.

Amid such an acute shortage, cartels engaged in illegal sale of blood have continued to make a kill.

The illegal blood business is blamed for shortage with Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe last year in March accusing cartels at the ministry of draining Kenyan blood banks.

This is after reports revealed that blood donated by Kenyans was being sold abroad, mostly in neighbouring Somalia by a cartel comprising officers from the Kenya National Blood Transfusion Service (KNBTS).

And now KNBTS, which is mandated to ensure the provision of adequate safe blood, is in the process of rolling out a new system aimed at sealing loopholes exploited by cartels to siphon donated blood from Kenya’s blood banks.


Central bank digital currency disruption



The increased adoption pace of digital technologies is forcing countries to adapt Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs).

This has made many decision-makers to set up mechanisms for change in the past five months. A move that will completely disrupt the financial systems.

A special report by Fitch Rating insinuates that the rise of private digital payment platforms with strong network effect could “create oligopolies among payment-system providers.”

Private companies could end up controlling so much of individual personal data, a concern that has been raised within the academic circles.

Indeed, some governments are also not comfortable with the power of data analytic that these platforms are building around personal data.


Safaricom reveals ownership of Ethiopia venture


Tuesday May 25, 2021

Safaricom  will own a majority stake in a series of companies formed for entry into Ethiopia’s telecoms market, giving the firm effective ownership of 55.7 per cent in the new venture.

The Nairobi Securities Exchange-listed company has disclosed the exact ownership structure of the consortium that on Saturday won a licence to enter the new market at a cost of $850 million (Sh91.6 billion).

Japan’s conglomerate Sumitomo Corporation is the second-largest investor with a 27.2 per cent stake, followed by UK’s sovereign investment fund CDC Group (10.9 per cent) and South Africa’s Vodacom Group (6.2 per cent).


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