There should be a shared, standardized cybersecurity breach reporting mechanism in Kenya – ESET

A shared reporting system would be a welcome move in developing a unified preventive and counteractive measure to hamper the spread and growth of malware such as ‘WannaCryptor’ and other forms of cybercrime in the country.

IT security company ESET East Africa has added its voice to the call for legislation to compel organizations to share or release information to a supervirosy authority, affected individuals or organizations in case of cybersecurity breaches.

(TOP: Teddy Njoroge, ESET Country Manager for East Africa).

According to Teddy Njoroge, ESET Country Manager in charge of Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Rwanda, this would help responsible branches of government, businesses as well as Cybersecurity services vendors to keep ahead of cyber-criminals.

“Due to the siloed and secretive manner in which breaches are reported in Kenya, another attack similar to ‘WannaCryptor’ ransomware could be devastating if directed to critical institutions such as health, government and especially the financial services sector”, he said.

On Tuesday May 17, Joe Mucheru, CS, Ministry of ICT, challenged the financial services sector in Kenya to improve information sharing and reporting on Cyber-security breaches.

“Breach notification eliminates the clandestine attempts by hackers to attack systems and enables synergized efforts towards the prevention of the criminal activity as well as their prosecution”, he said.

Speaking at the Cyber-Security & Banking Forum organized by Citibank and the ICT Authority, CS Mucheru  said standardized reporting would also help in quantifying the exposure and resilience of organizations both in public and private sector to cyber security incidents.

The encrypting – type malware also known as ‘WannaCry‘ or ‘Wcrypt’ that hit the world on Friday May 14, 2017, spread rapidly around the globe by exploiting a vulnerability in computers running unpatched versions of Microsoft’s Windows Operating System.

Njoroge added that a standardized and shared reporting system would be a welcome move in developing a unified preventive or counteractive measure to hamper the growth of malware and other forms of cybercrime in the country.

“In the aftermath of ‘Wannacryptor’ ransomware attack we can see from statistics a trend that indicates potential under reporting of both successful and unsuccessful attacks especially noting that over eighty percent of personal computers and servers in Kenya run on the Windows Operating System”, he explained.

ESET recorded eight ‘Wannacryptor’ attack attempts in Kenya during the period May 14 to 16, 2017. In Africa, worst hit was Egypt which recorded 1,592 attempts followed by South Africa at 386 and Nigeria at 42 attempts out of the 15 countries that registered attack attempts.

Around the globe ESET recorded the highest number of attacks in Russia with 30,189 cases, folowed by Ukraine – 7,955, Taiwan – 7736 and The Phillipines at 1,973 cases and which was followed by Egypt.

“In this period 14,383 ESET clients reported 66,566 attack attempts which were all detected and stopped. 60,187 attacks were detected through file or memory detection while another 6,379 attack attempts were stopped through ESET’s Attack Network Protection module”, said Njoroge.