Kenya Strengthens Cyber Security Measures Amidst Rising Threats

In response to an alarming surge in cyberattacks, the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) has escalated its efforts to protect the nation against these threats. The number of cyberattacks in Kenya has risen dramatically from 7.7 million in 2018 to a staggering 444 million in 2023, placing the country among the top three most targeted nations in Africa.

Rosalind Muriithi, Director of Internal Audit at the CA, emphasized that the growing threat of cyberattacks necessitates a proactive approach to safeguarding the nation’s digital landscape. The primary focus of these measures is to build the capacity of institutions to counter cyber threats, address vulnerabilities, and mitigate emerging risks. The National Computer Incident Response Team (KE-CIRT), headquartered at the CA, is working tirelessly to ensure the safety of Kenyan citizens.

“Cyber threats are unpredictable. You cannot plan how or when they will happen,” Muriithi explained. “Our team at CA works 24 hours a day to monitor and provide assistance to hacked institutions, enabling them to enhance their cybersecurity systems.”

The CA is prioritizing the protection of Kenya’s digital economy from a range of threats, including data breaches, hacking attempts, identity theft, and malware attacks. In this pursuit, the CA, in collaboration with Huawei and the Kenya Cybersecurity Forensics Association (KCSFA), has launched the Cybersecurity Bootcamp and Hackathon Series 2023.

A digital Ad used to promote the Cybersecurity Bootcamp and Hackathon Series 2023

The bootcamp and hackathon series of 2023 which has drawn the participation of 6,000 students aims to equip students with the necessary skills to address emerging cyber security challenges.

Muriithi emphasized that the bootcamp and hackathon series aims to cultivate a pool of cybersecurity professionals capable of effectively countering evolving threats in the rapidly changing ICT sector. The participants are guided through a Huawei Certification e-learning course on cybersecurity, virtual laboratory exercises, and receive mentorship from cybersecurity experts.

Fredrick Wahome, Vice Chairman of the KCSFA, stressed the importance of local solutions in addressing the escalating cyber threats. “As a country, we don’t have any locally made cyber security solutions,” Wahome noted. “We need to develop our own anti-virus and firewall to mitigate the rising threats.”

The collaboration between the CA, Huawei, and the KCSFA has attracted praise for its potential to nurture cybersecurity talent and provide students with relevant skills. Vanessa Kawira, Huawei Kenya IT Talent Academy Manager, expressed hope that the initiative would encourage young innovators to pursue cybersecurity disciplines and contribute to keeping the country secure in cyberspace.

As cyberattacks continue to escalate, strong public-private partnerships are becoming increasingly crucial for national security and innovation. Fredrick Wahome highlighted the role of collaborations between organizations like the CA and Huawei in nurturing talent and providing access to relevant skills in an ever-evolving digital age.

“I firmly believe that collaborations like that of CA, Huawei, and other partners will play a pivotal role in nurturing talent and Young Kenyans will get better access to skills that are more relevant in this fast-changing digital age,’’ he said

The cybersecurity hackathon series is gaining traction across various regions in Kenya, with over 200 young tech enthusiasts from different educational institutions across the Nyanza region alone benefiting from the Cybersecurity Bootcamp and Hackathon Series 2023 program held in Kisumu. The initiative aims to address the growing demand for cyber security professionals in the rapidly emerging digital landscape.

“It is envisaged that through these capacity-building sessions, the Authority will contribute towards building a pool of cybersecurity professionals who can meaningfully participate in addressing emerging threats in the changing ICT sector,” added Rosalind Muriithi, CA Internal Audit Director.

From left; Fredrick Wahome, Vice Chairman of the KCSFA; CA Regional Manager for Nyanza, Winnie Owiti; Rosalind Muriithi, Director of Internal Audit at the CA  at a press conference in Kisumu on August 5, 2023.

CA’s partnership with Huawei, and the KCSFA seeks to ensure robust network and information security as Kenya embraces digital transformation.

The bootcamp and hackathon series have already proven successful, providing intensive training and hands-on experience to young participants. The comprehensive training equips them with the skills and knowledge necessary to effectively safeguard digital systems and networks.

This esteemed event offers participants a platform to demonstrate their expertise and knowledge in the realm of cybersecurity.

“While we have previously conducted this event in Nairobi, we have now expanded its reach to various counties. The winners in Kisumu will come together with winners from other regions in October in Mombasa for the final round,” stated Ms. Muriithi. The CA, Huawei, and KCSFA are set to conduct the hackathon across different counties in the upcoming months, with Nyeri County scheduled to host the next iteration.

The top-performing teams from the hackathon and the boot camp’s regional finals will convene in Mombasa during the highly anticipated October National Cybersecurity Month Conference. This annual event serves as a platform to promote awareness and understanding of cybersecurity.

“We hope that the initiative will inspire these young innovators to select a discipline related to cybersecurity as they progress with careers in technology and keep our country safe in cyberspace,” said Huawei Kenya IT Talent Academy Manager, Venessa Kawira,

The boot camp, characterised by intensive training conducted over a brief period, encompasses the Huawei Certification e-learning Course on Cyber Security, virtual lab exercises, and mentorship from seasoned experts in the field.

These meticulously designed sessions and courses are strategically designed to equip participants with the necessary skills and knowledge for a successful career in the realm of cybersecurity.

With cyber threats on the rise, the nation’s proactive measures reflect its determination to secure its digital economy and protect individuals and businesses from cyber attacks.

Read the story below for facts and figures about Kenya’s recent cyber threat statistics:


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