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Alarm over huge increase in Web attacks, viruses

AndroidTabletpxDaily Nation By CHARLES WOKABI

Sunday, December 16  2012

Surging demand for Android powered gadgets triggered an explosive growth in the number of cyber threats targeting the platform in 2012, a new report reveals.

According to the Kaspersky Security Bulletin released at the weekend, 99 per cent of mobile malware detected by the Kaspersky Lab in 2012 was designed for the Android platform.

“Although malicious programmes for other mobile platforms, such as Symbian, Blackberry and J2ME, are still being developed, 99 per cent of newly discovered malware targeted the Android platform,” Kaspersky said in the bulletin.

The lab said it identified more than 35,000 malicious Android programmes in the year — which is about six times more than what was recorded last year.

An increase in the uptake of Android devices as consumer appetite for smartphones increases could have made the platform the biggest target for cybercriminals.

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Social security provider now activates Sh300m IT system

NSSFpxDaily Nation

By NATION REPORTER
Sunday, December 16  2012

The social security provider has activated a new technology system to upgrade its operations.

The new system, dubbed SAP Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), will also help the National Social Security Fund (NSSF) on real-time management across its core business functions.

According to the fund’s managing trustee, Mr Tom Odongo, the Sh300 million system has been activated at the fund’s head office before progressively being rolled out across the branch network countrywide.

“By migrating from our manual systems to an enterprise-wide ERP system, we are making a historic shift from the inefficient NSSF of yesteryears to a modern NSSF which provides value to its members through centralised modern IT systems,” he said.

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Airtel adds value to your cents with new bundles

AirtelpxSaturday Nation 15 Dec 2012

By NATION Reporter

Airtel Kenya has announced the introduction of a new range of affordable and flexible calling rates, effective immediately.

With the new Pamoja bundles, Airtel consumers can gain up to 2.5 times more talk time depending on the bundle they choose.

During the festive season, Pamoja bundles will allow family and friends to come together while achieving cost savings. Now there’s a reason to celebrate.

Customer calling needs vary day by day.  Now with Pamoja bundles, Airtel Customers can choose a tariff every day which matches their needs, making the most of their cash flow that day.

In addition to giving real value, Airtel's new Pamoja bundles include smaller denominations with prices ranging from two cents up to five cents per second, because we know every cent counts whether at home, work or school.

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KENYANS WIN VODAFONE APP STAR CHALLENGE

ronoDaily Nation Friday 14 Dec, 2012

By Nation correspondent

Two Kenyan innovations emerged top in the first-ever Vodafone app star challenge held i south Africa yesterday.

Beating 6,000 entrants from six African and middle eastern countries, Mr Gerald Kibugi won the first prize with his action adventure game app’ tough jungle’ that introduces users to Kenya’s culture and history in an interactive way.

His app is an original Kenya game with different levels of play which are revealed after successful navigation of one level. Mr Gilbert Rono, another Kenyan and a first year student at Kenyatta university, won the second prize for his ‘ eureka’ app-an educational application that helps student solve mathematical problems.

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NIC splurges Sh740 million on new mobile banking system

nicBusiness Daily By GEOFFREY IRUNGU

Wednesday, December 12  2012

Mid-tier NIC Bank has spent about Sh740 million ($8.6 million) on a new core banking system to facilitate rolling out of new products to be offered through mobile phones. It will also expand it Internet and branchless banking.

The listed banker said the products will hit the market during the first quarter of next year. Though details were not immediately available, there is a possibility the bank will be seeking to compete with other institutions that have recently unveiled products intended to push both deposit and loan services through mobile and Internet-banking platforms.

Commercial Bank of Africa and Safaricom’s M-Pesa have a partnership dubbed M-Shwari, Equity Bank has the pioneer M-Kesho with the same telecom firm, while deposit-taking microfinance firm Faulu Kenya has Kopa Chapaa with Airtel. Faulu has gone to court to challenge the M-Shwari product claiming it is a duplication of its product.

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Telkom Kenya faces heat over unlimited data service

telcomThe Standard Digital By Paul Wafula

Thursday 13 Dec 2012

Telkom Kenya’s unlimited Internet package has run into trouble, The Standard can reveal.

The company, which is one of Kenya’s biggest players in the data market, has been selling its unlimited Internet package for months. But it turns out that while customers assume they will get uninterrupted service, some are being cut off while online.

And the Consumer Federation of Kenya (Cofek) now says it would take the firm to court unless it comes clean on the reasons for the ‘deception’.

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Mobile Internet forces PCs to evolve

IPad1stGenDaily nation SAN FRANCISCO, Wednesday 13,Dec 2012
The shift to smart phones and tablets became a landslide this year, crushing the desire for laptop computers and pressuring manufacturers to adapt to the mobile Internet era.

The trend promises to gain momentum in 2013, with people using handheld gadgets to remain connected to the Web on the go and switching to sophisticated systems in homes or offices.

“Tablets will not kill PCs (personal computers),” Forrester Research analyst Frank Gillett tsaid. “Tablets will force them to evolve.”

Signs that the evolution is underway include Microsoft overhauling Windows to synch the world’s most widely used computer operating system with tablets and smartphones as well as desktops and laptops.

Microsoft is even selling its own Surface tablet based on the Windows 8 software released in October.

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ICT innovations offer home-made solutions for Africa’s growth

phoneBusiness Daily By Okuttah Mark and Agencies

Wednesday, December 12  2012

Information and Communication Technology (ICT) innovations are delivering home-grown solutions in Africa, transforming businesses and driving entrepreneurship and economic growth, says a new report.

The report by the World Bank and African Development Bank, with support from the African Union says in the last five years, Africa’s mobile phone market has rapidly expanded to become larger than either the EU or the United States’ with some 650 million subscribers.

At the same time, Internet bandwidth has grown 20-fold as hundreds of thousands of kilometres of new cables have been laid across the continent to serve an increasing number of its one billion citizens.

The new access is quickly changing lives and driving entrepreneurship, fuelled in part by collaborative technology hubs, and delivering innovation and home-grown solutions for Africa.

The report emphasises the need to build a competitive ICT industry to promote innovation, job creation, and boost the export potential of African companies.

Africa’s Internet bandwidth has increased 20-fold in the past five years, supported by over 68,000km of submarine cable and 615,000km of national backbone networks.

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Court order gives landlords temporary reprieve

KRAThe Standard Tuesday, December 11 2012

By Paul Wafula

Hopes for implementing a system that will help the Kenya Revenue Authority net rental income tax cheats during this financial year have dimmed after the High Court extended orders stopping the taxman from procuring the database to February next year, following a dispute with an employee.

A KRA employee, Mr Samson Ngengi, went to court to force the authority to recognise his effort in developing the system by issuing him with a certificate of innovation and compensating him. But the taxman ignored his plea and wanted to procure the system from a third party. The latest development, however, compounds the taxman’s headache of bringing the lucrative realestate  sector into the tax bracket at a time the Government is counting on rental taxation to plug its budget shortfall.

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Kenya Rises Six Points in Connectivity Ranking

safaricomDaily Nation Tuesday December 2012

By Muthoki Mumo.

An analysis by German firm Deutsche post places the country at 94 out of 132 nations sampled, noting that Africa is the fastest growing in link-up rates.

Kenya has inched up six positions in the global ranking of economic and social connectivity. The country was placed 94 out of 132 countries in the Global connectivity Index published last week by German logistics firm Deutche post (DHL). In the previous edition of the index, Kenya was in the 104 position.

In sub-Saharan Africa, Kenya was ranked 11, beating countries like Senegal, Malawi and Namibia. South Africa and Nigeria were the most connected countries in the region.

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Techno Brain offers IT placement for graduates

Monday, December 10, 2012 -- BY STAR CORRESPONDENT

technoTechno Brain, a software development company has partnered with the NetHope Academy by providing placement opportunities for fresh university graduates for a six-month program at the academy to enhance their classroom and on-the-job IT skills.

The NetHope program launched in Kenya in March 2012 is open to students in Kenya, Rwanda, and South Africa. . NetHope Academy provides training and certification in relevant technical skills, supplemented with practical on-the-job work experience and daily mentoring and guidance.

The program has enabled fresh graduates to earn relevant work experience becoming fully competent in the current IT sector and hence boosting their employability.

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Lobby sues over plan to switch off analogue TV sets

TVpxBy GALGALLO FAYO

Monday, December 10  2012

The planned analogue television switch-off by the government faces a new hurdle after a lobby group moved to court challenging the decision.

The Consumers Federation of Kenya (Cofek) filed a case under certificate of urgency seeking orders to prevent government from effecting the switch-off.

“This honourable court do and hereby grants conservatory orders to prevent the respondents from switching off analogue television signal transmission in Nairobi and/or any other part of the country on December 31 until 2015 in line with the global deadline pending the hearing and determination of this application,” states Cofek in its petition.

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IBM reverses Africa brain drain with Nairobi office hirings

boyBusiness Daily

By DAVID HERBLING Sunday, December 9  2012

Global tech firm IBM is seeking highly-qualified African techies in the diaspora who are willing to return to the continent and develop innovative IT solutions at its sole African research lab opened in Nairobi in August this year.

(Read: World Bank picks Kenya to host first green tech centre)
The tech firm is seeking Africans working in IT firms or teaching in western universities with doctorate degrees in computer science or engineering in a move that promises to reverse the brain drain that has hit emerging economies like Kenya.

“We need Africans with the right skill who are willing to come back to the continent and make an impact,” says IBM in a circular copied to Stanford University and seen by the Business Daily.

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State to assign mobile devices IP addresses to curb cyber-crime

cybercafeThe Standard Digital By Fredrick Obura

Monday Dec 10 2012

The move would help track and monitor activities of mobile devices and supplement the registration of mobile phone SIM cards

Mobile devices will soon be assigned unique public Internet protocol (IP) addresses as part of the Government’s efforts to crack down on cyber crime. 

Information and Communication PS Dr Bitange Ndemo (pictured) said the State, through the Communication Commission of Kenya (CCK), is pushing mobile operators to give each device – including cellphones and tablets – unique IP addresses to ease identification of users.

This, he said, would help track and monitor user activity on these mobile devices and supplement the ongoing registration of mobile phone SIM cards. Ndemo said mobile operators had missed several deadlines to comply with the order and called on CCK to expedite the matter. “Operators are exposing themselves to litigation by ignoring the IP address procedure,” he said. “We want them to comply, because this information will be linked to other Government databases to improve integrity and combat cybercrime since we are able to trace the users.”

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Fibre optic firms race to connect counties

thumbThe Standard Digital By Fredrick Obura

Monday December 10,2012

Development comes at a time when the Government has started pushing some of its services online

Jamii Telecoms Ltd (JTL) is seeking to increase its fibre-optic network by building 1000 kilometers (km) in the first quarter of 2013 as it positions itself for Internet tenders to connect county governments ahead of its rivals.

The company says it will increase its fibre network to 5,000 km from the current 4,000 km at a cost of Sh500 million,  in a move that will make it the biggest fibre optic provider in the country in terms of coverage. The firm intends to build the metro fibre optics in major towns in Central and Costal provinces that will include, Meru, Nyeri,Embu Nyahururu, Kilifi and Malindi.

The move will place it ahead of its rivals, Telkom Kenya that has 4,500 fibre km and AccessKenya with 350 km. JTL chairman Joshua Chepkwony said the firm has already ordered for the materials to build the cables and that the project will commence in January and its completion date slated for March next year.

“The project will enable those in  towns to easily connect with their counter parts in other parts of the country without necessarily having to travel thereby cutting on their travel expenses,” said Mr Chepkwony. “We are targeting, corporate, small and medium enterprises as well as Government with our fibre network.”

He said other than the banking institutions, it is targeting, the firm has also set eyes on the Government tenders — to connect learning institutions, health facilities and the administrative offices in the devolved governments.

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Kibaki names investment banker to drive Konza tech city

ngumi

Business Daily By David Herbling

Sunday, December 9  2012

President Kibaki has picked career investment banker John Ngumi to lead the development of the Sh850 billion Konza technology city.

Mr Ngumi, currently director of investment banking at CFC Stanbic Bank, was appointed chairman of the Konza Technopolis Development Authority, the State-owned body that will regulate, monitor and evaluate the development of the multi-billion-shilling ICT park.

The appointment sets the stage for the recruitment of the authority’s board members and its executive officer.

Mr Ngumi will guide the search for investors and cash for the tech city that will be developed through a private-public partnership financing model. The government will provide basic infrastructure like roads and electricity while a master developer will build and sell the premises to tech firms.

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Kenya at crossroads on proposed Internet rules

THE STAR BY WINFRED KAGWE

Friday, December 7, 2012

cybercafeIt has been a tough week in the global telecommunications sector as the battle lines over control of the internet were drawn.

In the World Conference on International Telecommunications going on in Dubai, the debate over whether to change the current internet model has been going on, and will continue until next week.

This concerns issues of who should govern the internet, to what extent it should be governed, privacy online, who should pay for content and who to be paid for internet usage among other contentious issues.

This has been seen as a fight between the West and East. On one hand is the US and Canada governments seeking to retain the regulations set as far back as 1988, rules that have seen them retain much control of the net.

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UN net meeting 'hit by hackers' causing website disruption

The Standard Digital

Thursday, December 06 2012

wcitA UN conference to discuss the future of internet governance has been disrupted by a suspected hacking attack.

The World Conference on International Telecommunications (Wcit) is debating changes to a wide-ranging communications treaty.

Delegates were unable to access material relating to the meeting after its website was forced offline.

Hacker groups had claimed responsibility, organisers said.

The UN's International Telecommunications Union (ITU) said delegates had been left "frustrated" by the disruption, which lasted for about two hours on Wednesday.

"However, a spirit of camaraderie prevailed," it said in a statement. "With those who had access to up-to-date online versions of the texts willingly sharing with other delegates in order to keep discussions moving forward."

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Office Dynamics wins ICT awards

Tuesday, December 4, 2012 -- BY STAR REPORTER

office.dynamicsTECHNOLOGY solutions provider Office Dynamics has won two awards in ICT convocation awards for its role in helping small and medium enterprises acces products suited to their business scope and nature.

Office Dynamics won the best ICT project award and best print solution provider awards at the event organised by Computer Society of Kenya.

Director of Office Dynamics Sanjay Bhudia said the company is determined to win the award again next year as it seeks to introduce new advanced products that will cater for the technological needs of small entrepreneurs.

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They all deserve credit for ICT success

bitange

Daily Nation By Nation correspondent

Saturday, December 1  2012

The Permanent Secretary for Information and Communication, Dr Bitange Ndemo, has steered Kenya into an ICT hub in Africa and beyond.

It was thus commendable when the Sunday Nation columnist, Mr Murithi Mutiga, dedicated his page for the celebration of the visionary PS on November 18, 2012.

Yet it has not been Dr Ndemo alone in this business. As much as he should take credit for the implementation of the ICT policy, other players and contributors to the prevailing ICT status in Kenya equally deserve mention.

One such person is former PS James Rege who oversaw much of the development of the ICT policy that has ensured Kenya remains etched on the global map in terms of ICT revolution.

It was Rege who established the structures and relevant policies from scratch and Dr Ndemo picked up from there. That foundation has been instrumental in taking Kenya to the next level, I believe.

Other ministry technocrats have equally been instrumental in pushing Kenya’s ICT agenda forward.

Some of the brilliant ICT ideas initiated by Rege include the establishment of an ICT Park (akin to the proposed Konza City), development of a template on fibre optic connectivity, and the need to provide all school-going children with laptops in order for them to keep tabs on technological advances across the world.

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