Firms asked to up their IT security

August 15, 2011
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Sergey Novikov

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 15- Kenyan firms are increasingly being exposed to thousands of sophisticated IT threats and this calls for the need to implement new technologies that can enable them to secure their data and applications.

These threats stems from the increased availability of affordable and reliable bandwidth which has made electronic services such as online banking and online shopping possible.

Unfortunately, these have in turn brought with them a vulnerability to cyber crime which, Kaspersky Laboratory Head of EEMEA Research Centre Sergey Novikov opined can be curbed through the installation of comprehensive security solutions.

“Firms need to not only implement security policies but also ensure they are followed to the letter. Again, they need to get all their staff and train them on what they should or shouldn’t do,” Mr Novikov advised.

Globally, an average of 35,000 advanced and sophisticated malwares are detected every day which continues to pose a headache to anti-virus companies on how to protect their customers.

The main motivation for hackers to steal confidential information is money and this is possibly the reason why the attacks are increasing at such a rapid rate.

The statistics get grimmer with 91 percent of companies around the world said to have experienced at least one IT security event from an external source in the last 12 months.

And in what could point to the limited levels of awareness about the seriousness of this issue in the business circles, only 70 percent of companies have fully implemented anti-malware (IT security) protection solutions across their businesses.

Three percent of them have no protection at all.

Besides installing security solutions, businesses need to combine that with the hiring of competent IT administrators as well as the training of all their staff that increasingly access the internet and especially the social networking sites.

Doing so, Mr Novikov emphasised, would ensure that the company is protected without compromising the employees’ productivity.

The threats however are not limited to companies and governments but to home users and smart phone users as well.

This is because more people continue to carry out online activities and therefore unsuspectingly expose their financial details. This in turn creates more opportunities for the hackers to siphon from the bank accounts.

“If you want to use your financial information online, then have for instance two credit cards where one that has a lot of amount of money is seldom or never used online. The second card could have very little money that can be used for (online) shopping but in a less risky way,” Mr Novikov advised.

The situation is becoming dire with the revolution of mobile telephony that has made it possible to carry out transactions through the phone.

“You must think about the protection of your information even if you think you have nothing to be stolen,” he cautioned.

However, there are solutions that are being developed in the market to protect smart phone users against new threats or anti-theft. These are some of the products that Kaspersky Laboratory, the fourth largest anti- virus company in the world intends to bring to Africa.

The firm opened an office in Johannesburg, South Africa in 2009 from where it hopes to serve the rest of the continent that is increasingly witnessing internet penetration.

The increased uptake of such solutions will also need to be supported by the enactment of proper policy frameworks and public awareness campaigns that can adequately help it to deal with the cyber security dangers.

In addition, given the sophistications of cyber crime, Mr Novikov argued that the war against hackers will only be won through the collaborative efforts of all stakeholders such as the anti-virus companies, security firms, governments and law enforcers who need to combine their resources, to fight this vice.

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