Safaricom thwarts cyber attack attempts


Safaricom thwarts cyber attack attempts

Listed telecom operator Safaricom has become the latest corporate institution to come under a cyber attack.

According to Safaricom, the hackers attempted to gain access to its system with an intention of gaining access to customer funds on its mobile money transfer platform M-Pesa.

The telecom termed the breach as an elaborate cyber crime fraud attempt.

Safaricom chief executive officer Bob Collymore said the firm’s risk management unit detected the intrusion and immediately escalated the incident to the security agencies.

The Safaricom boss however sought to assure customers that there was no cause for worry as no money had been lost.

“This matter is being treated with the seriousness it deserves with the suspects due to be arraigned in court. I wish assure our customers that all their data is safe and we have no evidence of any money being removed from the system,” Mr Collymore said in a statement to newsrooms.

Mr Collymore however did not give further details in the incident owing to the sensitivity of the mater.

One method used by the hackers to access customer information was through a SIM swap that gives the fraudster access to a customer’s SIM card.

In the reported case, they managed to access Sh266,000 from one customer.

Safaricom however says the funds were refunded once the breach was detected.

M-Pesa is the largest mobile money transfer system in the country and has also been linked to several banks.

Safaricom has partnered with the KCB Group and the Commercial Bank of Africa (CBA) to create mobile accounts that enable customers to deposit, transfer and request loans.

In March, authorities discovered a cybercrime syndicated that had infiltrated the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) several blue chip companies as well as a supermarket chain.

In the case of KRA, some Sh4 billion was said to be at risk from the cyber attack.

Mr Collymore said the firm routinely and proactively implements preventative and detective controls around its information security on all its platforms.

Safaricom holds the ISO 27001 Information Security Management System certification that confirms adherence and implementation of appropriate processes and controls relating to mobile data, mobile money services, cloud services, billing and customer support services.

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Story By Ephraim Mugo
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