Kenyan government to set up online identity system to curb cybercrime

Kenya’s government has revealed of plans to set up an online identity system for merchants hoping to make ecommerce in the country safer by curbing online fraud.

“This is going to be done very soon,” Dr. Bitange Ndemo, the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Information and Communication said. He explained that the government has already directed a CERT (Computer Emergency Readiness Team) team at the Communication Commission of Kenya to start the process.

“We are going to ensure, that the CERT team is well staffed, create capacity around it,” Dr. Ndemo added.

He cited challenges in legislation that sometimes the technology innovations move faster than the required legislations.

Emmanuel Kimeu, Channel Sales Account Manager for East Africa at McAfee said that the cybercrime underworld was worth US$2.5 billion last year and this trend is growing.

In developing countries such as Kenya, cybercrime seems to be taking root and will worsen if the countries’ ICT stakeholders do not put enough security measures.

Only last month, a renowned Kenyan TV anchor, Kirigo Ng’arua, had her identity stolen on Facebook and the perpetrator extorted money from the public, pretending to be the news anchor. The culprit was an IT graduate who could not find work in the country.

A report from the South African sector also shows increase activity in Cybercrime involving banks and online transactions. The country has come up with measure including legislation to try and reduce risks in technology.

In Kenya, phone SIM card registration is now mandatory as the government through CCK try to put identities on phone numbers. This helps police to investigate incidences that involve phone calls and text messaging. The country is yet to see if the new online identity system will be put up in the near future.

Posted in: Internet

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