President’s office to host key cyber security team

The Office of the President will house a new department to monitor cyber security on all public platforms set up with the adoption of online services.

Falling under the directorate of e-Government services, it comes when manual records are being upgraded into electronic forms, rasing the possibility of increased cyber crimes.

It will take charge of electronic security on government systems, including the telecoms infrastructure and data storage, migrating from an arrangement where individual ministries and departments were in charge of cyber policing.

Katherine Getao, the ICT secretary at the directorate of e-Government, said the “creation of the department has been approved and the next step will be to recruit the required personnel,” said Dr Getao.

She said the Government would hire the team on competitive terms, seeking to match what the private sector is offering to stop the loss of talent.

Low remuneration has seen the Government lose key IT experts to the private sector, which is a threat to the ambitious digital projects.

Information permanent secretary Bitange Ndemo said the government had lost eight officers it had trained to tackle cyber crime due to uncompetitive salaries.

The demand for security analysts and administrators is being propelled by the increased automation of services, especially by financial institutions and telecoms firms.

“The greatest challenge we are witnessing is the ability to retain IT officers capable of tackling cyber crime  due to low remuneration that has seen us lose a number to the private sector,” said Dr Ndemo.

Cyber crime varies from receiving unsolicited material, commonly referred as spam mails, hacking, extortion, espionage, viruses and using some software to get critical information from an individual, an organisation or government computer system.

In  the recent past, websites of the police and the Kenya Revenue Authority have been under attack by hackers.

This effort will supplement the industry regulator Communications Commission of Kenya, which has also invested Sh20 million in equipment to connect to other regional and global networks to monitor and tackle cyber crime issues.

It has also set up a computer incident response team to counter the rising cases of cyber crime in the country.

The Kenya Computer Incident Response Team will help CCK to protect consumers from attacks that might lead to loss of resources.

mokuttah@ke.nationmedia.com

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