20pc of computers in Kenya virus prone

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 7 – A rising number of computer users in Kenya are ignorant of the dangers posed by viruses, according to a leading cyber security expert.

Senior security researcher at Kaspersky Lab Stefan Tanase says 20 percent of computers being used in Kenya are vulnerable to viruses, and the number is rising.

Tanase told Capital Business that 17 percent of the vulnerable computers are due to use of free software which is mostly downloaded from the Internet.

“People tend to forget to update their software. Every day they turn on their computers, most of the time they get notifications that they need to update this and that and most of them are actually ignoring these things. Because they don’t realise that these updates are actually security updates, aimed at reducing vulnerabilities in these applications, “said Tanase.

Tanase has also denied long-held claims that anti-virus providers like Kaspersky Lab are involved in creating the viruses to keep their business running.

“There is actually no reason for any anti-virus company to create their own viruses because there are so many viruses out there that we can already barely keep up with. This is our business that is based on protecting our customers. You can imagine a company that spends 15 years in gaining customer trust. It will be sad to even try that,” he asserted.

Kaspersky Channel sales manager for East Africa Bethwel Opil said there is need for the Kenyan government to come up with proper regulation on dealing with this kind of cyber crime.

He adds that most of the cyber criminals are now focusing on Africa due to the increase of use of technology and lack of awareness to the problem.

“If the regulation is quite clear on the consequences, definitely people will not go for it. Our agencies who are responsible for these issues should act quickly,” said Opil.

He added that apart from creating awareness among Kenyans, there is also need for comprehensive data on computer viruses so as to come up with new technological solutions to curb the challenge.

A computer virus is a program that can replicate itself and spread from one computer to another and usually causes a lot of damage to computer software or complete malfunctioning of the machine.

Currently 70,000 new viruses are created every single day globally.

MARGARET WAHITO :Margaret has been a business reporter for the past four years. She holds a Bachelors of Science degree in Communications and Public Relations from Moi University. She also holds a diploma in Film and Video production from the Kenya institute of Mass Communications. Apart from journalism, she has interest in community work, especially helping the disadvantaged.