Cybercrime now a “top five” economic threat in East Africa

By Tom Jackson

Cybercrime has grown to become one of the top five types of economic fraud in East Africa, according to PwC manager John Kamau.

Kamau was speaking at the Connected East Africa conference in Diani, Kenya, when he said cybercrime had hit the headlines and would remain there for some time.

He said cybercrime has now become one of the top five types of economic fraud, accounting for 22 per cent of such criminality, with people aware that it is a growing threat.

“93 per cent of people surveyed identify cybercrime as something they need to be aware of,” he said, adding this was compared to only seven per cent that see it as an issue of declining importance.

“Organised crime groups have now advanced. They have moved from small scale groups and are now multi-country,” Kamau said, while also drawing attention to the threat from some nation states and hacktivists.

He said, however, that often the main threat faced by businesses was from their own employees, and often those that had appeared ore loyal.

“The profile of the typical fraudster is that they have worked within the business they attack for between three and five years,” he said.

To avoid the negative effects of cybercrime, Kamau advised businesses to assume in advance they would be targeted at some point and put detailed plans in place to avoid or detect this.

“Assume at the start you will be compromised. When you are designing your strategy, assume that there is already someone working against you,” he said, adding it was also important for businesses to identify their “crown jewels”, and conduct regular security assessments.

“Have an incident management plan, so when the fraud occurs, as it invariably will, you know what to do,” Kamau said.

“Put in place structures and have a mindset that is focused on protecting you and your ecosystem. You need to understand the threat. Once you understand the threat that you face then you are able to deter and detect it.”

 

 

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