Kenya sees spike in cyber threats as people opt for high speed internet, transact more on mobile money

Kenya has registered a spike in cyber threats, in the three months to December 2020, a period that saw mobile users opt for high speed Internet subscriptions and also transact more on their preferred mobile money transfer platforms.

The sector statistics report by the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) for the period, shows that there was a 59.8 per cent increase on cyber threats from 35.1 million threats detected in the previous quarter to the 56.2 million threats in this quarter.

The spike is attributed to the significant increase in malware and web application attacks, among other factors recorded during the period.

“The increase in cyber threat events detected is attributed to the systematic resumption to normalcy amongst sectors and services that were previously dormant due to the restrictions surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic,” read part of the report released by the CA.

However, there was a decrease in impersonation, online fraud, cyber bullying and child abuse cases, reported to the National KE-CIRT/CC.

“Child abuse cases decrease was mainly attributed to the National KE-CIRT/CC collaborative efforts with the Directorate of Criminal Investigation’s Child Protection Unit (DCI CPU)”, CA noted in the report.

During the period under review, the total broadband subscriptions rose by 4.6 percent to 25.8 million, from 24.6 million subscriptions registered in the last quarter.

The number of 4G broadband subscriptions grew by 15.3 percent in the referenced period. Meanwhile, the number of 3G broadband subscriptions dropped by 2.2 percent to 14.3 million subscriptions, to what CA said was an indication of growing uptake of 4G technology in the country.

“The volume of mobile data consumed during the period grew to 165.8 million from 142.6 million GB used in the previous quarter,” CA noted.

The number of active registered mobile money subscriptions stood at 32.5 million, whereas number of active mobile money agents stood at 264,390 during the period under review.

The value of transfers across pay bill and till numbers grew significantly with volume of the transfer from on person to person to another hitting Kshs 871.4 Billion translating to a 22 per cent increase compared to the previous period.

The value of transfer during the three months under review reached Kshs 1.03 trillion while consumers transferred Kshs 983.7 Billion to business, translating to a 22.2 per cent increase.

In terms of the voice calls made and SMS sent during the period, the Authority noted in the report that mobile (SIM) penetration grew by 3.3 percentage points to stand at 129.1 percent during the period under review. The total number mobile subscriptions as at December 31, 2020 stood at 61.4 million, representing an increase of 2.6 percent from the preceding quarter.

The volume of on-net mobile voice traffic rose by 8.6 percent to post 17.3 billion minutes, from 16.0 billion minutes while off-net mobile voice traffic increased to 2.3 billion from 2.2 billion minutes recorded during the previous quarter.


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