Kenyan Cyber-Security: Suffering from Neo-Luddism and Ignorance

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“Technology will evolve forward, with or without our help… All we can do is get out of the way, or — at best — enjoy the ride.” Douglas Rushkoff

There has been a recent spate of Kenyan websites being hacked, a case in point the Kenya police website which was tampered with in honor of Mark Zuckerberg. This has had many debating on the effectiveness of the cyber-security policies in place for these sites/organizations.

What has me puzzled though, is the factors/dynamics behind the seeming lax nature that most Kenyans approach their cyber-security and that of the firms in which they work or own. This week alone I went through my friends Facebook profiles and I found that an overwhelming majority had their email addresses open to public view. In another friend’s post some people posted their emails in response, in order to receive some news they wanted in their inbox. This despite the dangers that making your email public poses.

The problems in a society begin from an individual level, that’s what I believe. In discussions with most people, I usually find that opinion towards internet and computer technology usually leans towards either a neo-luddite view or an ignorant one. Digital natives/digital immigrants and those who embrace computer technology and its capabilities are usually on the fringes of Kenyan society (this is purely my experience).

It’s my view that the issue stems from an individual level, the realization that the embrace of technology is tantamount to near future survival and well-being has not really registered for most. Thereby resulting in an environment in which our institutions and our own cyber-security is threatened. Get more cyber-smart today, please, you have to.



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Muthoni Maingi
Muthoni is a Brand Strategist and Director at Deviate, a company that works with over 15 of the region's most forward thinking brands. She is passionate about growing SME's, Internet Technology and mentoring young women. She also owns and writes for Tamu Tamu and Bridal Kenya and is an active blogger on a wide range of topics such as business, food and technology and has written for CIO Kenya, Yummy News, Affrinovator and Kachwanya. Before starting her own company she was a Production Coordinator and TV Host for the NTV show Urban Hype, an Account Executive at Habari, and a Brand Strategist at Creative Edge.
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  • I agree with most points in your article, but I usually have my email address on my FB profile as well as most of the social networks I use, this is not from an ignorant point of view but from the fact that being an online communicator reaching me would be easier if you had easy access to my email address.
    That said, a sad by product of this is that I have to spend more time tightening the spam filters in my email accounts.


    @ngeny January 21, 2011 2:50 pm Reply
  • I agree a little bit, most of the peeps i know complain that their fb accounts are hacked. They themselves put simples related passwords like names of their kids, bdays, etc……kenyans are just……i dont know the word. Then govt sites go to people they know to build these wack(beyond terrible) sites. Our security is below that of an open door

    Paul Kevin January 21, 2011 2:58 pm Reply
  • Unlike in the physical world, cyber-security seems to be an after thought in Kenya. You wouldn't walk down River Road late at night talking loudly on the phone but yet seem very comfortable using your middle name as a password or sharing your mobile phone number on a status update.
    Sadly, it doesn't get any better at the top either, some of these system admins are nonchalant about security as the next guy and with more Kenyan's accessing the internet we're beginning to see the consequences

    pbombo January 21, 2011 3:22 pm Reply
  • Well it's about time that people started to take it more seriously because the repercussions are so grave… But you guys definitely have very valid points with regards to this..

    muthonimaingi January 24, 2011 9:18 am Reply
    • Your views are correct. But remember we are a society that talks too much especially when disaster occurs only to stop a little later after forgetting the disaster itself. Another disaster has to rekindle the excessive talking and the cycle continues.

      addy January 24, 2011 7:48 pm Reply
  • Share it all but at the same time be careful. It is hard to understand the people's mentality when comes to online security and the social media. People object to personal details being asked a lot or taken or displayed but on the other hand, millions are telling everything, what they are doing, where, when , personal details and pictures on to social networking sites . How about twitter? Foursquare? Whoever cares to listen or read. I think now there is a thin line between what people consider private and public.

    The other time i was shocked to see someone's payslip splashed on the internet. Surely how do you do that? What is in the mind of the person doing that?

    Again cyber security is a bigger issue and many angles. There are very sensitive issues like pyaproll, bank details, credit cards, personal emails or communication which should be protected at all cost and respected by all.

    kachwanya January 24, 2011 8:50 pm Reply

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