Cyber fraud on the rise in Kenya as police launch probe
The Director of Criminal Investigations (DCI) has issued arrest warrants for 130 people in connection with electronic fraud. This is through the hacking into commercial banks’ systems. The Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) has continuously being urging lenders to safeguard themselves against the risks technology poses to their operations. The crackdown has heightened fears of rising cases of cybercrime in financial institutions.
According to the DCI’s Economic Crimes Unit, the suspects had engaged in banking fraud between June last year and January this year. It has therefore urged members of the public with any information on the whereabouts of the suspects to contact its headquarters or the nearest police station.
Lenders in the country have recently become a soft target by cybercriminals. Police records show that they lost Kshs. 17 billion to swindlers in 2016, up from Kshs. 14 billion in 2015. CBK Governor, Dr. Patrick Njoroge has consequently urged banks to increase resilience to IT failures and cyber security incidents, including but not limited to organized frauds. CBK had directed lenders back in 2016 to furnish it with a cyber security policy before August last year. This move was aimed at curbing this peril.
Banks have recently stepped up use of internet and app-based platforms as they shift from the costly brick and mortar business model. Under the new regulations, lenders will be required to place the cyber risks issue at the board and management level. The rules are expected to spur the hiring of internet savvy experts, including chief information security officers who are dedicated to countering cyber threats.