The Computer Society of Kenya

Since 1986

Cyberattacks threaten elections and security, Kenyans say

cybercrime2DAILY NATION By VALENTINE OBARA

Monday January 14,2019

A majority of Kenyans are worried that cyberattacks will increase elections tampering and national security threats in future, according to a new survey.

A study carried out by American-based Pew Research Centre showed 73 percent of Kenyans believe that sensitive national security information will be leaked from cyberattacks, while 72 percent said such attacks are a recipe for election interference.

The research which was carried out in 26 countries globally, whose report was released over the weekend, also surveyed possibilities of cyberattacks on crucial public infrastructure such as power grids and telecommunication services.

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Police to take compulsory ICT course to serve public better

APsDAILY NATION By CHARLES LWANGA 

Tuesday January 08,2019

All police officers have been ordered to undergo a compulsory six-month training on Information and Communication Technology.

Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang'i said the training is aimed at equipping the officers with basic knowledge and skills to handle the newly launched automated information management system rolled-out across the country.

Speaking during the official launch of National Police Service Information Management System (IMS) at Karisa Maitha grounds in Kilifi County, Dr Matiang'i said the training will be implemented in partnership with the Ministry of ICT in order to improve service delivery.

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Telco authority warns over harmful software

cybercrimeDAILY NATION By IVY NYAYIEKA

Wednesday January 02, 2019

The Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) has raised the alarm over a harmful software that has accessed the confidential information of some Kenyans using online banking and payment systems.

The malware dubbed Emotet has been active globally and has now affected 11 Kenyan institutions in the private sector and academia, which, however, remain unspecified.

Individuals and institutions are vulnerable to Emotet because it poses behind familiar alerts, which seem to have legitimate branding from targeted financial institutions. It is spread through malicious email attachments or links posing as invoices, payment notifications and bank account alerts, among others.

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City data centre yet to start operations a year after launch

data-picDAILY NATION By COLLINS OMULO

Friday December 21, 2018

The Sh1.3 billion City Hall data centre launched by President Uhuru Kenyatta in December 2017 needs another Sh1.53 billion to finally start operating.

The money is needed for the purchase of visualisation software for supporting key functions.

This comes after it was revealed that the World Bank-funded data centre has not been operational, a year since it was launched as a digital platform to help the county government enhance its revenue collection.

This is because key components meant to support main functions are yet to be installed.

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Why Kenya's Konza technocity failed to take off

KonzapxDAILY NATION By ELVIS ONDIEKI

Wednesday December 11, 2018

It was touted as Kenya’s dream technocity that would create 200,000 jobs and make the country a model for other African countries in technological innovation.

Konza Technology City, launched by former president Mwai Kibaki in January 2013, was then a pet government project.

NO BUILDING

Mr Kibaki said at the launch that all had been put in place to ensure the construction of the city, located in Makueni County, was a success.

“I am telling the doubting Thomases to open their eyes wide and see what we are going to come up with,” said Mr Kibaki.

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M-Pesa is a critical resource that should never fail

M-PesapxDAILY NATION By JOHN WALUBENGO

Monday December 10, 2018

I have written extensively about the implications of the dominance of Safaricom over the Kenyan economy and its implication as a potential single point of failure.

To be fair, the M-Pesa service has only failed twice or thrice in its 10-year history and that should be commendable as a very good performance level of availability.

However, within those 10 years, M-Pesa has grown from an option to literally being a must-have financial service for millions of Kenyans. It has also become integrated in the lifestyles of Kenyans in terms of paying for anything, ranging from groceries to school fees and even bribes.

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Should CBK issue its own digital currency?

moneyDAILY NATION By JOHN WALUBENGO

Wednesday November 27, 2018

Should the Central Bank of Kenya issue its own digital or cryptocurrency?

This is not a popular question to ask, particularly at a time like now when the most famous cryptocurrency has shed off 90 percent of its value over the last one month.

Additionally, the question of a sovereign country issuing its own cryptocurrency begs another question – what is the problem with the current physical fiat currency that would necessitate a digital version?

A final begging question would be – aren’t we creating an oxymoron by putting Central Bank and digital or crypto currency in the same sentence, especially because cryptocurrencies like bitcoin were designed from scratch to eliminate the need for intermediaries like Central Banks?

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What is the progress of ICT in the counties?

naksphotopixDAILY NATION By JOHN WALUBENGO

Wednesday November 11, 2018

When the international media says Kenya is a hotbed of innovation, many a time they are referring to Nairobi County.

Mention high-speed internet, innovation hubs, mobile apps for paying bills and for hailing taxi rides, apps for dating, or just about anything else, and you will get it in Nairobi.

Nairobi seems to have it all in terms of ICT.

However, is Nairobi the same as Kenya? What exactly is the state of ICT in the counties?

Difficult to tell, but reading from a 2015 County ICT study that was commissioned by the ICT Authority, the story was not so rosy. The study looked at the maturity levels of ICT governance and usage within the county governments.

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Telcos regulator seeks to monitor WhatsApp

CAKDAILY NATION By PATRICK ALUSHULA

Friday November 2, 2018

Kenya is considering regulating online services such as WhatsApp and Skype in a radical move that could force the internet-based service providers to share data with the government.

The Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) is in search of a consultant to study and determine how the so-called over-the-top services (OTTS) operated by groups such as Facebook, which runs WhatsApp, and Skype owner Microsoft, could be regulated.

The regulator wants to have some measure of control, much like it does with other traditional telecom products such as calls and phone text messages.

“Given that providers of OTTS are likely to gather their subscribers’ data and may not be domiciled in Kenya,” the CA said in a statement to the Business Daily.

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Mucheru, Rotich drawn into GAA enquiry

mucherupxDAILY NATION By DAVID MWERE

Monday October 29, 2018

Information Communication and Technology Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru and his National Treasury counterpart, Mr Henry Rotich, are among the senior government officers to be probed by a parliamentary committee over the loss of Sh2.5 billion at the Government Advertising Agency (GAA).
Their Principal Secretaries Fatuma Mohamed (Broadcasting and Telecommunications) and Kamau Thugge (Treasury) will also be probed.

DIRECTIVE
This comes as Lugari MP Ayub Savula, former Broadcasting and Telecommunications PS Sammy Itemere, and former GAA boss Dennis Chebitwey are expected to be charged today with the theft of Sh122.3 million on the recommendation of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Mr Noordin Haji.

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Auditor: ICT authority is technically insolvent

Joe Mucheru2DAILY NATION By IBRAHIM ORUKO

Monday October 22, 2018 

The Information Communication and Technology Authority is technically insolvent and cannot meet its financial obligations, Auditor-General Edward Ouko says.

The authority recorded a Sh2.41 billion loss in the 2016/17 financial year.

The auditor, in a report tabled in the National Assembly last week, said the agency's liabilities of Sh1.6 billion exceed its Sh386 million assets.

DOCUMENTS

“Its financial statements are prepared on a going concern basis. The assumption is that the authority will continue to receive financial support from the government, bankers, creditors and donors,” the report said.

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Tax on internet, mobile cash will dim ‘Silicon Savannah’ dream

mobilephoneDAILY NATION By LINAH BENYAWA
Tuesday October 16, 2018

The most endearing question on the growth of a state should be, do we tax ourselves to growth or poverty, economic extinction and obscurity? While tax is a grand necessity, the growth of nations is pegged on taxation systems that allow for equitable redistribution and tandem growth in the middle and lower classes — the low-income group.

A good example, and which has generated much controversy and qualified opinion in equal measure, is Kenya. The recent concession by the Executive and the measures introduced in the tax reforms — taxing fuel and introducing a vague organ on kerosene and highly taxing mobile money and data is such.

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Telcos switch off thousands of fraudulent SIM cards

wangusiCITDAILY NATION By JOHN MUTUA

Monday September 24, 2018

Telcos have switched off hundreds of thousands of fraudulently registered SIM cards following a directive by the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA).

The CA had issued the directive last Monday after a forensic audit of the mobile networks belonging to Safaricom, Airtel and Telkom Kenya revealed several subscribers had registered their lines with inaccurate and incomplete data, thus aiding criminal activity.

Some of the anomalies spotted include SIM cards with multiple registrations under different identity details, serial number length variations in registrations, using passports and alien IDs as well as lack of control by telecommunications operators on their agents.

“We wish to confirm that all customers on our network are registered,” Safaricom said in a letter to CA, dated September 17. Safaricom had 29.5 million subscribers by end of March according to CA data.

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Is Communications Authority running out of options?

CAKDAILY NATION By JOHN WALUBENGO

Wednesday September 12, 2018

Declare dominance, but do not punish success.

This has been Safaricom’s rallying call each time the Communications Authority attempts to intervene in the Kenyan telco sector that has been dominated by Safaricom in the better part of the last decade

Safaricom, with its flagship product M-Pesa, has without doubt transformed lives and put Kenya on the global map where financial and digital inclusion is concerned.

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Data Protection bill is finally out – The key principles

cybercrime2DAILY NATION By JOHN WALUBENGO

Tuesday August 08, 2018

The Ministry of ICT finally published the proposed Privacy and Data Protection Bill and is seeking public comments on the same. We seek to provide an overview of the general principles behind this bill. First we must recognise three key actors within the Data Protection regime: the data controllers, processors and subjects.

Data controllers determine the purpose for and the manner in which the data collected on citizens is processed. Typical examples of data controllers include government departments like immigration, police and agencies like Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), universities and hospitals among others.

Private sector data controllers would include your mobile service providers, banks, hospitals, supermarkets and insurers.

We should not forget the smaller data controllers like your neighbourhood garbage collecting company or security agency that possess private information about you.

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How to secure government records

techDAILY NATION By JOHN WALUBENGO

Monday August 20, 2018

Business Daily made a sensitive revelation about the controversial construction that is allegedly encroaching on a public beach in Mombasa.

They discovered from the Nema website that the construction had been approved by the regulatory agency, Nema under the application number NEMA/EIA/PSR/6347. A few days later, Business Daily reported that the record had been removed from the website.

Such a move does raise quite some pertinent questions.

First and foremost is the issue of public trust. If a government agency can randomly choose what to hide or share with the public then we indeed have a long way to go in terms of transparency practices.

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Treasury to blame for Sh2.5bn media debt, says Joe Mucheru

joemucherupxDAILY NATION By NATION REPORTER

Information Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru has told media houses that he would not pay their Sh2.5 billion debt because Treasury has not given him the money.

The money owed through the Government Advertising Agency (GAA), has left the viability of some media houses and the livelihoods of thousands of journalists, who work under difficult circumstances to keep the country informed and the powerful in check, hanging precariously.

During a breakfast meeting on Tuesday with some media executives, the ICT Cabinet Secretary said GAA would not pay the money until it receives an allocation from Treasury.

He also said the debt was now under investigation, suggesting he could not progress with payments until detectives complete their work.

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State mulls taking all advertisements online

Joe Mucheru2DAILY NATION By NATION REPORTER

Wednesday August 8,2018

The Government Advertising Agency (GAA) plans to cut out the media and place all state advertising on a website.

The agency sees this a way of reining in government entities which book adverts but do not pay and possibly as a way of getting around the mass of debt it has accumulated.

GAA head Ngari Gituku told Nation that MyGov, the weekly pamphlet of government adverts and propaganda that is inserted in daily newspapers on a rotational basis, will soon become a website. This would be in a bid to help the government stop reliance on media houses for delivery of the messages.

While digital is the way of the future, less than a third of the population have access to the Internet and smartphones that would allow them access government opportunities.

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Mobile cash payments up by Sh108bn in six months

mpesaBUSINESS DAILY By CONSTANT MUNDA 

FRIDAY, AUGUST 3, 2018

The value of mobile-based transactions rose by Sh108.86 billion in the first six months of the year, reflecting the growing dominance of mobile payment services, Central Bank of Kenya’s (CBK) data published on Wednesday shows.

Mobile payments hit Sh1.92 trillion between January and June from Sh1.81 trillion in a similar period last year, putting average daily transactions at Sh10.61 billion.

Key sectors of the economy such as financial services, retail and wholesale trade, agriculture and health are increasingly integrating mobile payments into their operations.

This is in line with rising mobile subscriptions, which stood at 44.1 million or 95.1 per cent penetration in March, according to the Communications Authority of Kenya July data.

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As cybercrime rises, a wake-up call about security and the digitisation pace

cybercrimeDAILY NATION By JOHN WALUBENGO

Tuesday July 24,2018

Recent reports showing how tech-savvy youth are compromising our digital services to fleece unsuspecting customers confirms that our digitisation efforts are moving faster than our information security efforts.

Banks, telcos, utility companies such as Nairobi Water or Kenya Power have been in the forefront of making their services convenient and more accessible for their customers.

Banks and telcos are heavily regulated and some of the rules require regular security audits of their information systems. So how come cybercrooks are having a field day, reaping where they have not sown?

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