Cyber threats spike over festive season

Kenya has registered a sudden spike in cyber threats, which increased by 572 per cent in the second week of December, as cyber criminals target online shoppers looking for interesting offers during the festive season.

A new surveillance report by Dutch network company Surfshark shows that Kenya and Uganda are among countries that have recorded the most cyber threats in the run up to the festive season, occasioned by ‘Black Friday’ and Christmas offers.  

Kenya recorded an average of 7.2 threats per 100 scans between October and December 12, making it the second most affected country in the continent, after South Africa which reported nine threats per 100 scans. Globally, Kenya ranked 51st as Uganda closely followed at 59th, with a threat level of 2.9 threats per 100 scans.

Nedas Kazlauskas, Surfshark’s Antivirus Product Owner, said the trend shows that cybercriminals are targeting unsuspecting online shoppers looking for deals.

“People searching for gifts and deals online during the period of huge discounts are more likely to click on suspicious links, download malicious files, and infect their devices,” he said.

The threats most registered in Kenya are riskware – a program made without malicious intent but with security loopholes – and malware – a program created to cause harm to a computer or mobile device. These accounted for 67.3 percent of all threats reported.


The reported cyber threats could be used to corrupt or delete files in one’s device, steal money and personal data, copy passwords or stealth into some programs without authorisation.

People can keep themselves safe by avoiding unfamiliar websites with “too good to be true” offers, and steering clear of suspicious links in emails or chats.

In a recent survey by audit firm KPMG, it emerged that East African firms are the most affected by cyber-attacks, with three out of 10 firms in the region having fallen victim to such attacks in the recent past.

Firms’ ability to tackle the rising cyber threat in their businesses is limited by the lack of adequate qualified staff to handle their cybersecurity needs.

Source:  The East African

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