HACKING

Saccos losing Sh50,000 per minute to hackers – tech firm

Saccos have become highly exposed due to continued use of ATM and mobile-enabled technological platforms

In Summary

• Saccos are losing Sh72 million every day to cybercrime and related activities, head of Cyber Security Services at Internet Solutions Kenya Bright Gameli has said.

• Gameli said the Saccos have become highly exposed due to continued use of ATM, mobile enabled technological platforms and change in operations including shift to banking space.

The Barclays ATM at the Barclays plaza.
The Barclays ATM at the Barclays plaza.
Image: FILE

Saccos are losing Sh72 million daily to cybercrime and related activities, according to Internet Solutions Kenya Bright Gameli has said.

The firm's head of Cyber Security Services said the Saccos are highly exposed due to continued use of ATM, mobile enabled technological platforms and change in operations including a shift to offering banking services.

“Saccos are at high risk of losing their monies especially those adopting mobile banking and the systems or applications being poorly done,” he said.

 

The amount translating to Sh26.28 billion in a year, if lost, would closely equate to the total asset for Saccos such as Kenya Police Sacco that reported Sh28.9 billion in accumulated savings and assets in 2018.

According to the Central Bank's FinAccess Household survey 2019, saccos control 9.4 per cent of savings, below mobile money and bank saving account at 53.6 per cent and 25.4 per cent respectively.

According to Sacco Societies Regulatory Authority (Sasra), deposit-taking SACCOs accumulated Sh442.27 billion in 2017 in total assets, while the deposits grew to reach Sh305.3 billion.

The total loans grew to reach Sh331.2 billion.

The vulnerability at saccos now face follows similar revelation of hacker attacks and theft within commercial banks.

In 2018, Kenya’s economy lost Sh29.5 billion to the activities as the criminals stepped up attacks on banks, Saccos and government agencies.

 

The report by cybersecurity firm Serianu showed the costs included Sh8 billion in direct cost either through money lost in attacks or ransom paid to free up stolen data and Sh20 billion in indirect costs involving procurement of equipment and software, training personnel and monitoring systems.

 

The risks have been increasing interlink to other payment service providers including Paypal, Pesalink.  

According to Gameli, since the increased warnings and campaigns against the crimes in the banking sector, there has been improvement, however some banks are still taking the issue lightly.

“About 80 per cent of banks systems allow send of emails with forged addresses. This kind of cyber fatigue would get difficult to handle if there is no right framework,” he said.