Computer fraud has been identified as the predominant Information Communication Technology (ICT) threat in Kenya, according to the National Crime Research Centre's (NCRC) recent report.
The preliminary findings underscore the severity of the issue, with computer fraud holding the highest prevalence at 72.9 per cent, closely followed by identity theft and impersonation at 71.5 per cent.
Additionally, the interception of electronic messages or money transfers accounts for 57.3 per cent of reported cases, as highlighted in the NCRC report.
Describing the situation as a 'widespread menace,' the NCRC emphasizes the severity of the issue.
A majority of respondents, 67.5 per cent, rated the prevalence of ICT crimes and offences as high, underscoring the widespread and significant nature of these crimes in Kenya.
The report further reveals that 84.8 per cent of respondents have experienced some form of ICT crimes and offences in the last 24 months, with only 15.2 per cent stating they had not encountered such crimes during that period.
In terms of perpetrators, the study identifies youths (50.1 per cent), ICT experts (43.9 per cent), and inmates/prisoners (23.1 per cent) as the three prominent categories. Various other groups, including students, hackers, and internal staff in some institutions, are implicated in these cyber offences.
On the receiving end, vulnerable segments of society, such as the elderly (39.4 per cent) and the uninformed (28.2 per cent), along with major business players (21.0 per cent), have borne the brunt of these crimes.
The NCRC emphasizes the need to provide requisite knowledge to these demographics to prevent ICT-related crimes.
The financial sector emerges as the most affected institution, with 68.4 per cent of cases involving online banking fraud and phishing attacks.
The education sector faces significant threats, with 27.8 per cent affecting universities and colleges.
Telecommunication companies are also targeted at 27.0 per cent, highlighting the critical need for network security to safeguard both companies and customers.
Digital money transfers, including popular platforms like M-Pesa, account for 26.5 per cent of cases, indicating the necessity for improved verification processes.
In response to these findings, the NCRC has called for comprehensive cybersecurity measures to be implemented to protect the affected sectors in the country.