Kenya Commercial Bank has revealed that it suffered an attempted Sh. 2 billion money heist. The theft was attempted by a gang of hackers, who the bank did not identified as local or international.
“In 2020, the KCB Group successfully prevented a theft of Sh. 2 billion, in attempted fraud, thanks to our robust cyber security systems,” said KCB.
In a sustainability report, the bank further said that it had prevented another 3,624 other cyberattacks and managed to stop 663 attempted fraud cases. However, the bank did not reveal the extent to which the mega heist attempted had gone.
In addition, KCB said that the decision by the Office of the Attorney-General requiring companies to update their beneficial ownership e-register has helped them track payments in real time and flag suspicious transactions.
“In line with this development the Group moved to strengthen its internal Know Your Customer (KYC) procedures. Combined with our robust cybersecurity systems, we were able to flag and prevent suspicious or fraudulent transactions faster,” KCB said.
This is the latest cyber theft attempt to be carried out on a major listed bank in Kenya. Antony Mwangi Ngige, 23, and Ann Wambui Nyoike, 21 — two second-year students at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) — were recently charged with stealing Sh. 25 million from the bank through hacking. They are also said to have attempted to steal an additional Sh. 190.7 million from the NCBA Bank.
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According to the Communications Authority of Kenya’s sector statistics report for the fourth quarter of 2020, cyber threats rose by over 50 per cent to 56.2 million incidences from 35.1 million threats reported in the previous quarter.
Of note, malware and application attacks continued to rank highly among the factors that have contributed to the surge in emergent cyber security challenges.
Cyber fraud targeting banks has risen in tandem with the increase in number of customers who are opting for digital banking services. Kenya Bankers Association Chief Executive Officer Dr Habil Olaka says that there has been a significant shift in bank customers’ preferences for digital services which, according to the Association’s Customer Satisfaction Survey of 2020, stood at 43 per cent.