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Cyber attackers target govt, telecoms sector in East Africa

The East African governments and telecommunications sectors now top cyber-attacks, according to an industry study by the ControlRisks, ITRealms reports.

According to Control Risks Group Holdings Ltd, a cyberthreat intelligence organisation, the government in this region accounts for 33 per cent, while telecommunications currently attract 22 per cent, just as financial service sector records 17 per cent.

The Compliance, Forensics and Cyber expert for East Africa at ControlRisks, Patrick Matu, said this is contrary to the perception that cyber breaches are a problem unique to the large multinational companies based in developed markets.

“East African organisations are fast becoming a target for attacks with local subsidiaries particularly attractive as the ‘cyber’ route into these multinationals,” he said, stressing that attacks are increasing rapidly and in severity.

Globally, he said, there has been a 42 per cent increase in the number of targeted attacks reported between 2015 and first and second quarters of 2016.

For East Africa, he said, Advanced Persistent Threat and Criminal Targeted Attacks are the most impactful cyberattack techniques in 2016.

In Kenya alone, the ControlRisks team estimated costs for the country due to cybercrime costs sums up to 2 billion Kenyan shillings about $23m.

Matu noted that the Kenyan Government may have made great strides with the formation of Kenya National Computer Incident Response Team Coordination Centre (KE_CIRT/CC) launched in 2012 and the development of the national cyber security strategy in 2014, it is however key for the public and private sector organisations to interpret what the policies mean for them; essentially adopt a “paper to practice” model for their organisation.


“Despite a growing number of media headlines about US or EU based companies falling victim to a cyber breach, the lack of obligation in many emerging markets to report on incidents is creating a false illusion that businesses operating in these markets are not subject to cyber attacks. In fact many organisations with bases in these emerging markets are prime targets and seen as the ‘weak underbelly’ when it comes to an organisation’s cyber security,” Matu said.

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