Kenyan businesses have been warned to brace themselves for increased risk of cyberattacks as scammers deploy new tactics and malicious software.

A new report released by American tech giant Microsoft yesterday said Kenyan businesses risk losing millions of shillings in a new wave of cyberattacks unless they invest more in their security systems.

“Last year saw a record number of cyberattacks and major hacks which indicated the need for businesses to build robust security perimeters to protect themselves,” said the director of technology strategy at Microsoft, Ruediger Dorn, during the report’s release in Nairobi on Wednesday. This, he said, comes against the backdrop of a steady rise in the number of devices and more users getting online, with smartphones emerging as the most popular target for cybercriminals.

The report cites Kenya as one of the leading countries in Africa in reporting malware attacks, with 15-20 per cent of computers reported to have downloaded malware in March last year alone.

Because of the high internet capacity from four undersea cables and the central position to the region, the country has previously been cited as being a source and an intermediary for cyberattacks that target users both locally and across the region.

Another report by technology research firm Serianu last year said Kenyan companies lost more than $175 million (Sh17 billion) through cybercrime in 2016 alone.

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