• The country has only 1,700 certified cybercrime professionals, too few to secure the Kenyan population of close to 50 million against cyber-attacks on the rise.
  • Some 10.2 million threats were detected in the last three months of 2018, over 2,200 times the 4,589 recorded in the same period the previous year.
  • President Uhuru Kenyatta last week launched the country’s Digital Economy Blueprint at the Transform Africa Summit in Kigali, Rwanda, the first in Africa.

Kenya has too few cybercrime professionals despite the country being one of the most advanced countries in information and communication technology (ICT) on the continent.

The country has only 1,700 certified cybercrime professionals, too few to secure the Kenyan population of close to 50 million against cyber-attacks on the rise.

Figures from the Africa Cyber Security Report 2018 show that the country is critically exposed and as a result about two-thirds of companies will face a talent shortage of cybersecurity professionals.

“We have to acknowledge that security is a critical component of everything we are doing in technology. We can go out there and talk about the big things we are doing here but the hackers are listening and we end up being exposed in the short term,’’ said Mr William Makatiani, CEO of Serianu Limited, which released the Africa Cyber Security Report 2018 – Kenya.

An aerial view of Nairobi City
An aerial view of Nairobi City

Mr Makatiani estimates that with a population of 50 million, Kenya needs about 10,000 skilled cybersecurity professionals for a start. The report was partly informed by a survey involving 300 IT and security professionals working in different sectors.

In recent years, cyber threats have gone up a great deal, according to the Communications Authority of Kenya data.

Some 10.2 million threats were detected in the last three months of 2018, over 2,200 times the 4,589 recorded in the same period the previous year.

In recent years, cyber threats have gone up a great deal, according to the Communications Authority of Kenya data.
In recent years, cyber threats have gone up a great deal, according to the Communications Authority of Kenya data.

Last year, such security breaches led to the direct and indirect loss of more than Sh29.8 billion, according to the cybersecurity report.

The same report finds that three in five people have been cybercrime victims at least once in the five years preceding the study. Of these, 57% of the cases were in the line of work, 39% at a personal level and 7% in both capacities.

Two in five corporate respondents in the study cited loss of money as the leading impact of cyber-insecurity for their companies, the highest. It was also the number one setback for individuals (30%). Individuals were impacted more than corporates by inconvenience (27% against 17%) and psychological harm (21% against 6%).

Ecobank Towers in Nairobi's Central Business District.
Ecobank Towers in Nairobi's Central Business District.

Close to a quarter (23%) of the respondents cited auditing and risk management as the areas in which cybercrime is most apparent. Other highly vulnerable areas were incident response (22%), application assessment (18%) and security architecture and remediation (16%).

Meanwhile, Kenya is one of the most advanced countries in information and communication technology (ICT) in Africa and its prowess continues to be recognised beyond the boundaries.

President Uhuru Kenyatta
President Uhuru Kenyatta

Just last week, Kenya raised its clout as a continental digital pacesetter when President Uhuru Kenyatta launched the country’s Digital Economy Blueprint at the Transform Africa Summit in Kigali, Rwanda, the first in Africa.

Besides coming up with the digital blueprint from which other African countries can borrow a leaf from, Kenya has also been selected to develop yet another template for a single digital market in Africa.

The country ranks second in Africa in digital training, according to the Africa Digitization Maturity Report 2017 by Siemens. It is followed by Ethiopia, South Africa and Nigeria.