75 percent of all cybercrime vulnerabilities are channelled through PDF, IE, and Java applications. Business enterprises automatically become a easy target by supporting a huge number of mobile workforce. At a media briefing held at the Crown Plaza Hotel in Nairobi yesterday, Kaspersky Lab stressed the importance of businesses in Kenya protecting their business critical and sensitive data, as it continues to see an increase in countries, with developing broadband infrastructure, being targeted by cybercriminals.
Says Bethwel Opil, Channel Sales Manager for East Africa at Kaspersky Lab; "Considering the broadband infrastructure growth in Kenya, cybercriminal activity in the region is becoming rife. In fact, cybercrime has been noted as one of the biggest challenges for the Ministry of Information, Communication and Technology, in Kenya, according to the Cabinet Secretary¹. In line with this, the Kenyan Government declared war on cybercriminals in May 2013 - which certainly indicates the severity of the issue in the country."
The reality is that cybercriminals are no longer targeting only the consumer, but rather are starting to place an emphasis on business sectors around the world, and countries, such as Kenya, are no different. It has been reported² that by the end of the 2012/13 financial year, some of the banks in Kenya had reported losses of millions of shillings as a result of cybercrimes.
"While these crimes may have occurred through cybercriminals targeting the consumer, these figures reflect the impact such activity also has on the business market, which is also suffering. It is with this in mind that we are asking Kenyan businesses how safe their critical business data is and whether they are aware of the realities and threats today?" says Opil.
Kaspersky Lab is advising businesses to pay attention to the IT security threats that exist, to educate themselves on the realities of cybercrime and to then take precautionary steps to protect themselves from cybercriminal activity. Adds Opil; "We certainly feel that there is a need to close existing 'gaps' in security postures - especially considering the fact that most businesses operating here are small businesses, who cannot afford to become the next cybercrime victim and the financial impact it can have."
To this end, the threat of malware is growing exponentially where cybercriminals are attacking businesses with both old and new types of malicious threats. According to data collected from the Kaspersky Security Network (KSN), in Q1 of 2013 Kenya ranked 80th in the list of countries where hosting services are used by cybercriminals, and 115th in the list of countries subject to web-based threats - not far behind South Africa who is ranked 102 and well ahead of other African countries including Uganda and Zambia to name a few.
"While some businesses may view such rankings with little concern, they should in fact be taking these realities seriously - as these statistics will only get worse if the growing threat of cybercrime is not understood and managed effectively." Further to this is the fact that businesses today are supporting a much more mobile focused workforce, where critical data is now being stored on employees laptops, smartphones, tablets and other portable devices - and this data may not be as safe as businesses think. In fact, according to recent findings from the Global Corporate IT Security Risks 2013 survey conducted by B2B International in collaboration with Kaspersky Lab in 2013, personal mobile devices used for work-related purposes remain one of the main hazards for businesses where 65 percent of those surveyed globally saw a threat in the Bring Your Own Device policy (in the survey the South African figure is even higher - 75 percent).
The cybercrime challenges targeting businesses as well as the increase in employee-owned devices has made protecting business data critical, yet it has also made it tougher to protect such data. As such, an effective security solution is needed. To simplify and secure business of all sizes, Kaspersky Lab have developed an Endpoint Security for Business product, that comes with a number of new and improved technologies that allow businesses to See, Control, and Protect their business.
"Cybercrime is a reality across the globe. As more Kenyans here gain access to and start using the Internet, so cybercrime will remain a fact that needs to be handled locally. While we encourage government to get involved, we also stress the need for businesses to take their own protection measure and steps to ensure that any security gaps in their organisations are closed and that their data is safe. Along with the need to continue to educate themselves on security issues and deploy effective and powerful IT security technologies, it's also important to have special policies for employees in place. We urge businesses in Kenya to not fuel the cybercrime reality by making it easy for these criminals to get what they want - rather make sure they don't win." He concluded. Peter Nalika
The writer generates technical content for CIO East Africa and the International Data Group News Service, he also contributes to PC World and Computer World. Peter is classically trained in computing and information management, and he is currently pursing an MBA program in Management Information Systems at the University of Nairobi.