Kenya’s impersonation cases rise as cyber threats dip by half in first quarter of 2021

The number of cyber threat incidents detected in the country reduced by almost half in the three months to March 2021. This even as online impersonation cases formed the bulk of cases reported for investigation, according to the latest sector statistics report released by the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) in late June this year.

According to the report, the National Kenya Computer Incident Response Team/Coordination Centre (National KE-CIRT/CC), domiciled at the Authority, detected 28.2 million cyber threat events down from 56.2 million reported in the previous quarter, representing a 49.7 percent decrease.

‘‘It was however noted that cyber threat actors are increasingly developing and adopting sophisticated tools and methods that are designed to avoid detection while maximizing harm,’’ notes the report.

The Authority is upgrading the detection systems of the National KE-CIRT/CC mitigate the emerging threats in the cyber space. Just recently, the Authority launched a mobile app for reporting cybercrimes.

A total of 25,506 advisories were issued compared to 21,513 in the preceding quarter. The period also saw 298 digital investigation requests received by the Centre, compared to 224 requests in the previous period, a 33 per cent jump.

Over a half of these cases were online impersonation cases, followed by online fraud, online abuse and child abuse.

‘‘This increase is attributed to the notable rise in impersonation and online fraud as a result of the continued reliance on digital tools and online platforms amidst the COVID-19 pandemic,’’ the report shows.

The report, covering the period from January to March 2021, indicates that the number of active mobile subscriptions (SIMs) increased by 0.9 per cent to stand at 62 million pushing the mobile (SIM) penetration to 130.3 per cent. Safaricom leads the market share in mobile subscriptions by 64.4 per cent, followed by Airtel Kenya at 26.5 per cent and Telkom Kenya at 6.2 per cent. Equitel, and Jamii Telecoms, have 2.5 and 0.3 per cent respectively.

The number of active mobile money subscriptions grew by 2.0 percent to stand at 33.1 million, whereas active mobile money agents stood at 257,907 up from 264,390. The total value of deposits during the period stood at Kshs 1.2 billion, representing a 10.2 per cent increase from the previous quarter.

The total number of Internet/data subscriptions declined by 1.5 per cent to 43.7 million, attributed to the increase in inactive mobile data/Internet subscriptions following the resumption of physical learning in schools from the beginning of the year.

Safaricom recorded the highest market share in mobile data subscriptions at 68.2 per cent, followed by Airtel Kenya at 25.9 per cent while Telkom Kenya has 5.1 per cent. Jamii Telecoms and Equitel Ltd recorded the least market share at 0.4 per cent

During the period, there was a marginal decline in the number of letters posted locally which stood at 231,506, down from 231,851 in the previous quarter. On the other hand, the uptake of courier services grew significantly as more Kenyans heavily on relied on e-commerce as a way of curbing the spread of COVID-19.

The period also saw the Authority assign 16 FM sound broadcasting frequencies and authorized 15 other assignments of frequencies for digital broadcasting.

The number of commercial free-to-air (FTA) television stations on air stood at 130, compared to 122 in the previous quarter. On the other hand, there were 186 FM radio stations on air out of which 131 are Commercial FM radio, 13 Public FM radio and 42 Community FM radio stations, according to the latest CA report.

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