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Kenya: Companies urged to conceal cyber-attacks

The Office of Data Protection Commissioner (ODPC) has called on institutions to cease concealing cyber-attacks and expresses concern about a significant shortage of cybersecurity professionals amid a rising number of online attack incidents in the country.

Data Commissioner, Immaculate Kassait highlighted that numerous institutions are concealing cyber-attacks in their digital operations. This practice persists despite the increasing difficulty in retaining cybersecurity professionals, given the competitive landscape in the industry.

“We are still scared of talking about cybersecurity to the extent that when you are hit you sit in a corner and hope nobody else discovers. Then your neighbour is hit and sits in a corner. Time has come to admit that there is nothing shameful about declaring that you have had a cyber-attack,” Kassait said.

The Data Commissioner, speaking at the launch of a cybersecurity training center at Riara University over the weekend, emphasized the importance for institutions operating in the digital space to evaluate their systems to enhance security.

“In terms of cybersecurity, we have a serious capacity gap as a country. Getting cybersecurity officers is almost impossible. As we continue to automate, it’s important to make sure that our cyberspaces are safe,” Kassait said.

Riara University inaugurated a cybersecurity training center to empower professionals with skills to counteract cyber threats. This initiative comes as cyber-attacks on public and private institutions, academia, and businesses are on the rise, driven by increased digital transactions among Kenyans.

The University Vice-Chancellor (VC) Robert Gateru said the centre was going to train high-level professionals in the public and private sectors, equip businesses in the different sectors with skills to mitigate against cyber-attacks and support the government in putting in place effective cyber-attack preventive measures.

“Cybersecurity is a concern for all sectors of the economy, there is no sector that is safe from cyber threats, whether it is government, private sector, academia or even individuals. Our main target initially is to work with the private sector where a lot of companies have put up cyber security through their own mechanisms but many of them are not strong enough and also working with the government to enhance their capacity to defend our national interest against cyber threats,” Prof Gateru said.

The Vice-Chancellor highlighted that many institutions are only addressing fundamental cyber threats in their mitigation strategies, leaving them vulnerable to more severe cyber-attacks.

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