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Firms lose crucial data as hackers have field day in pandemic

By Frankline Sunday | September 10th 2020

Cyberattacks and theft of confidential company data spiked in Kenya in the months following the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, new data shows.

This as criminals took advantage of employees working from home. The latest report from technology service provider Liquid Telecom indicates a majority of companies in Kenya and South Africa have recorded an increase in cybersecurity threats during the Covid-19 pandemic. 

According to the report released yesterday, 75 per cent of firms sampled in Kenya reported increased cybersecurity threats, with the number lower in South Africa at 46 per cent. 

Among the biggest concern for businesses were the loss of confidential company or personal data; hacking of company database, data protection and leaking of the confidential client, employee and firm information.

The survey compiled reports from cybersecurity decision-makers working in IT and finance in 109 companies across Kenya and South Africa. According to the report, the majority of those surveyed had more than 25 per cent of their staff working from home during the pandemic.    

“The top threats for both countries are: phishing or social engineering attacks and insider threats,” said the report.

“In Kenya, the major security threat to a business is password compromise and access to information store in the cloud.” 

Another report by Dimension Data released in June showed that the number of insider-related cybercrime in East Africa increased by 55 per cent three months after the first cases of the virus were reported in the region.

The data analysis firm also said most firms lack active monitoring of their IT infrastructure transitioned to remote work by the pandemic. The company’s head of business in East Africa Ishmael Muli attributed the threats to employee negligence.

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