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Alarm as Kenya cyberattacks hit an all-time high

The number of cyberattacks detected in the country in the three months ending September this year stood at 278 million. [iStockphoto]

The Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) has warned that more Kenyans are falling victim to criminals online as cybercrime cases in the country hit an all-time high.

The latest industry statistics indicate the number of cyber threats reported to the National Cyber Crime Centre (NCC) rose by 199.5 per cent in the first quarter of the 2022/2023 financial year as criminals got more sophisticated in their attacks.

According to CA, the number of cyberattacks detected in the country in the three months ending September this year stood at 278 million, an increase from 92 million in the previous quarter.

The regulator further issued a total of 5.3 million cyber threat advisories, up from 1.9 million the previous quarter, with system vulnerabilities, malware and denial of service attacks (DDOS) emerging as top tactics adopted by cybercriminals.

CA statistics further indicate that the first quarter of the current financial year was characterised by heightened activity in the telecommunications sector, partly attributed to the 2022 General Elections.

“The quarter under review was marked by increased activity across mobile network platforms due to the busy electioneering period,“ says the regulator in the report. “Consequently, active mobile subscriptions (SIM cards) grew to 65.5 million from 64.7 million recorded in the previous quarter representing a growth of 1.2 per cent. This translated to a mobile (SIM) penetration level of 132.5 per cent.”

The latest figures come on the back of a SIM card registration drive by the regulator earlier this year that saw Safaricom lose 438,797 subscribers in the first quarter of this year.

The telco has, however, recovered some of the subscribers, registering 637,886 additional subscribers in the first quarter of the 2022/2023 financial year, putting its market share at 66 per cent.

“As of September 30, 2022, there were 60.7 million mobile phone devices connected to mobile networks, out of which 32.9 million were feature phones, while 27.9 million were smartphones,” explained CA.

“The penetration rates for feature phones and smartphones as a percentage of the total population was 66.5 and 56.4 per cent respectively.”

Safaricom further maintained a strong lead in the fixed data market with 350,724 subscribers, representing 35.6 per cent of the market. Wananchi Group under the Zuku brand, ranked second with 251,133 subscribers, translating into 25.5 per cent of subscribers.

CA statistics indicate that out of 986,462 fixed data and broadband users, 508,489 are utilising internet speeds of more than 10Mbps (megabits per second).