THE EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
The Financial Sector Stability report, published by the Financial Sector regulators, provides an overview of the performance and trends of Kenya’s financial sector for the period January to December 2018, which also includes increase in cyber-attacks in 2018.
Kenya’s financial sector consists of deposit taking institutions (commercial banks and mortgage finance companies, microfinance banks and deposit taking Savings and Credit Co-operatives (Sacco’s)), non-deposit taking institutions (insurance, pensions, capital markets, and Development Finance Institutions (DFIs)) and financial markets infrastructure providers. The sector is regulated by; the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK); the Sacco Societies Regulatory Authority (SASRA); Insurance Regulatory Authority (IRA); Retirement Benefits Authority (RBA); Capital Markets Authority (CMA) and Government Ministries.
Cyber Risk emerged as one the top threats to financial markets as evidenced by prevalence of Cyber Incidents from financial data breaches affecting not only large multinational public companies but also Central Banks and Government systems in the face of increased use of Financial Technology (FinTech). 50 percent of the global securities exchanges experienced cyber-attacks in 2018 due to adoption of financial technologies by banks, saccos and other financial institutions which is driving rapid uptake of innovations such as mobile banking, agency banking, internet banking, mobile apps and digital finance.
Among the emerging consumer protection concerns are; frauds, cyber security risks, unfair practices including lack of transparency in pricing financial products, systems downtimes and unfair charges. The 2019 FinAccess Household Survey identified ATM/Card Swipe/system as the main challenge experienced in the use of financial services followed by unexpected charges on deposit account.
Challenges Experienced by Providers Used (percent)
Source: FinAccess Household Survey Report, 2019
Fraud remains the leading cause of mobile money losses, at 73.9 percent, through either a hoax message or call. Sending money to a wrong number mace at 22.4 percent of the incidences
Mobile Money Loss, 2019 (percent)
Source: FinAccess Household Survey Report 2019
Market Infrastructure failures and Cyber risks also emerged strongly for Capital Markets in 2018. For instance, the NSE Automated Trading System experienced hitches from a dependent System on October 1, 2018, leading to extended delay in trading hours by more than four hours, while on April 1, 2019, the market-trading infrastructure experienced a delay in opening due to unavailability of the Central Depository System. This led to the market opening for trading at 2.55 pm instead of the usual opening time of 9.30am.
In Saccos, apart from operational risks brought about by adoption of FinTechs, The Industry also lacks the framework to effectively deal with third party service providers who collaborate with DT-Saccos’ to provide management information system, Agency and mobile banking platforms among others.
We see that with the adoption of FinTechs by banks, saccos and other financial institutions so as to facilitate transactions and processes, there has been an increase in cyber-attacks in 2018. The CBK has taken a strong measure to address these risks strengthening the AML/CFT risk assessment frameworks.
We at Salaam Technology Limited are focused on ensuring that digital assets are secured from the hands of the hackers by conducting penetration testing on your system and cybersecurity awareness for the employees in your organization. Talk to us so that we can help you combat any cyber security challenge.