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How Unsuspecting Kenyans are Lured to Online Threats

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The increased use of social media has exposed unsuspecting Kenyans to online threats, which a majority are not aware of.

In different social media platforms, links are usually shared, asking users to click and get some rewards or even a share a certain number of times to get rewarded, only to end up being a false and malicious link.

Just a few days ago, Naivas Supermarket issued a warning to its customers against an online questionnaire that has been making rounds on social media, specifically on Whatsapp.

Customers had been promised prices up to Ksh9,000 if they answered the questionnaire, but it turned out to be one of those fake posters shared on social media to hoodwink unsuspecting Kenyans.

Other than that, links promising Kenyans different prices are usually shared on many pages. Many have failed to ask themselves who has ever won anything by sharing and clicking on those links.

Speaking to Kenyans.co.ke, a victim of online threats, Moses Mudogo, stated that his phone was secretly accessed by techies and his contacts exposed after clicking on one of those online links.

He narrated that he got lured into clicking the links after seeing a huge cash reward that was associated with it. As a result, his contacts were breached and those behind the link shared messages to his contacts soliciting money.

“Waah, it was a bad experience,” he stated, ” I saw one of those links on Facebook, it had a cash reward of Ksh8000 and the steps to fill were just easy, I quickly jumped into it.”

He added, “before I could finish filing the questionnaire the link started misbehaving, so I kept trying but I could not finish. Later I started receiving calls from some of my friends telling me that I had sent them messages of distress requesting money, I did not do that.”

File image of a man on his phone

Twitter

After several hours, he however managed to regain control of his phone. He claimed that the techies might have cloned or taken control of his phone completely.

He, unfortunately, lost the little amount he had on his mobile money account.

How They Scam Online Users

According to IT expert Denis Kamau who Kenyans.co.ke spoke to, fraudulent techies use multiple ways to take advantage of unsuspecting Kenyans. He stated that those techies try to gain access to your accounts or password or even other confidential information through the use of tricks.

“Online scammers try to possess your account password or other confidential information by tricking you into believing you’re on a legitimate website,” he told Kenyans.co.ke.

He added, “a secured URL has an ‘s’ after HTTP while the unsecured does not have an ‘s’,”

The techies use this information to log into Facebook, bank accounts, and others. That is why some end up complaining they have lost everything without knowing how.

35.1 Kenyans Exposed to Online Threats

According to the quarterly sector statistics report covering July-September 2020 released by the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) in January 2021, a sharp increase in cyber threats during the period, with 35.1 million incidents detected, representing a 152.9 per cent jump.

‘‘This increase in cyber threat attacks detected was attributed to the move to working remotely and increased uptake of e-commerce in response to the COVID-19 pandemic,’’ the report read in part.

During this period, there was an increase in people taking advantage of kids online, online mistreatment, and online theft. Of these requests, 1.7% were related to kids being taken advantage of online, 36.2% being attributed to general online mistreatment, and 27.4% being linked to online theft.

Cyberbullying and Internet trolling cases were also on the rise, with these being used for malicious intent across Kenyan domains and social media platforms.

Total data/Internet subscriptions increased by 4.8 per cent to stand at 43.4 million and with a majority of those online not knowing how to prevent themselves from online attacks.

The government through the Ministry of Communication released a National Cybersecurity Strategy High. In some of the recommendations made by the strategy included enforcing regulations for service providers, involve the private sector in setting standards, provide training to personnel on cyber security threats.

Empower regulatory bodies to ensure efficient ways of cybersecurity.

What to do When Exposed to Online Threats

The IT expert told Kenyans.co.ke that, for ransomware attacks, disconnect from the internet more especially public hotspots like office wifi.

He also advised that if one’s phone is accessed through crooked means, the user should immediately find a way of notifying their contact lists and then seek help from a service provider or an IT expert. 

To Avoid being lured into online threats, he further recommended avoiding sites that are click baits like how to win or even cease downloading software from unknown sites.

File image of a man using a phone

File image of a man using a phone

Twitter

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