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East African Banks lose $245m in cyber fraud - Are You Safe?

A senior official of Cyber Security Africa has warned that cases of suspected fraudsters have penetrated electronic financial transactions in the region.

Mr Sammy Kioko said that a survey, conducted by Deloitte last year, indicates that banks in Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, Tanzania and Zambia lose $245 million (about Sh367 billion) annually in cyber fraud.

He was speaking at a news briefing ahead of banking and cyber security workshop, which took off on Friday in Kigali.

The workshop was organised by Cyber Security Africa in partnership with industry stakeholders. “Cybercrime is high in EAC especially Kenya, now moving to Uganda and Rwanda; we should get ready to mitigate such risks,” Mr Kioko said.

The common cases cited include hacking, malicious insiders, card skimming, electronic files manipulation, and IT controls circumvention.The one-day workshop highlighted the key IT security threats, fraud, risk and regulatory issues affecting financial institutions, government agencies, public and private organisations in the daily operations.

Other topics discussed included modernising payment technology through Internet, mobile banking and the security challenges, cyber security threats for the banking sector in East Africa as well as combating financial crime.

“We are so lucky Rwanda is still considered safe but we have to be ready, put robust strategies to ensure a safer payment system,” said Mr Otakar Zich, chief executive officer of Rwanda Switch.

Mr Robert Kayitani, the managing director, Secure Payment Solutions, said the company will present a paper on Paperless Signing & Comprehensive Check Fraud Prevention.

The paper will look into fictitious bank accounts, forged invoices, usurpations of identities, imitations of signatures among other things. The protection of organizations’ infrastructure and systems from cyber threats is a key strategic priority, with cyber-attack identified as a top tier risk over the next years.

After the meeting, participants are expected to be able to develop and implement a ‘bullet-proof’ security strategy to maintain consumer trust and promote service usage.

The strategy will also identify the technical, device, network and hardware vulnerabilities that could compromise service security and understand the impact of regulatory frameworks on the mobile financial services market.

The Citizen

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