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How young IT gurus hack into banks and walk away with cash



Young IT graduates have been profiled as the major culprits in the hacking of bank systems.

The graduates, a majority of whom are aged 27 years and below, have been identified as the main suspects in cybercrime cases.The suspects are so well armed with education that players in the banking sector have had to up their game by employing IT experts to try to stop them.

The Central Bank of Kenya (CBK), which has been following the rising cases of cyber fraud, issued a new policy that will require banks to report cases of cybercrime in real time.

The new regulation that came into force last month requires banks and mobile money operators to report to the CBK any cyber-attack within two hours of the incident.

Companies with systems that clear huge amounts of money in bank-to-bank transfers were also directed to immediately file reports with the CBK.Telecommunication companies with systems that move huge volumes of cash, such as mobile money transfer, have also been directed to file reports.

New guidelines

The new guidelines by the CBK come in the wake of increased cybercrime attacks targeting banks and other financial institutions.

Statistics from the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) Banking Fraud Unit reveal that many of the suspects involved in cases of electronic fraud are well-educated university graduates with an IT background.

The suspects work in cahoots with bank staff who provide them with crucial information about IP addresses.Google defines an IP address as a unique string of numbers separated by full stops that identifies each computer using the Internet Protocol to communicate over a network.

Once they get the IP address, the IT experts can remotely access a bank’s system, including its computers. After corrupting a bank’s system, they are able to transfer money from one account to another.At times, they use mobile money networks to siphon the cash, according to data collected by banking fraud investigators.

The revelations come a day after eight Kenyans believed to be IT graduates were arrested in Rwanda over plans to steal money from an Equity Bank branch.Due to the high number of hacking cases reported to the DCI by banks, a special team of IT investigators has been seconded to the CBK to handle investigations.

The team comprises IT experts from the DCI cybercrime unit and the National Intelligence Service (NIS).The eight, whose identities Rwandan investigators are yet to reveal, were arrested together with four other suspects, including a Rwandan and Ugandan nationals.

“Rwanda Investigation Bureau (RIB) arrested an organised group of eight Kenyans, three Rwandans and a Ugandan over a cyber-fraud attempt on Equity bank,” Rwanda police said on Twitter.“This group was arrested while in the process of hacking into the bank system to steal money from clients’ accounts.”

Police said the same group was linked to another attack on the same bank in Kenya and Uganda.“A case file has been submitted to the National Public Prosecution Authority for further management,” RIB added.

Yesterday, police spokesman Charles Owino told The Sunday Standard that the police have enhanced their IT investigations by training more experts to deal with cybercrime.

“We have trained enough officers to deal with cybercrime-related matters. We now stand a better chance than before to deal with the menace,” Owino said.

Last month, the DCI conducted a swoop on youth suspected to be cybercriminals in parts of Juja and Kabete.During the October 9 operation, DCI officers arrested seven young men believed to be IT experts who are said to have defrauded the public of millions of shillings in a mobile phone hacking scheme.

More than 200 SIM cards, mobile phones and several mobile money transfer agent registers were confiscated.The suspects were described by the DCI on Twitter as aged 28 years and below.Earlier, investigators raided a house in Juja and recovered over 40,000 mobile phone SIM cards and arrested five suspected fraudsters.

by The Sunday Standard

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Michael Joseph: KQ could fly into more turbulence



National carrier Kenya Airways has protested the slow pace with which the government is implementing the nationalisation of the airline. It has warned it could fly into more turbulence within six months if the programme is not completed.

Kenya Airways Board Chairman Michael Joseph  yesterday expressed their frustrations at how the Ministry of Transport was handling the recommended programme.

He complained to a parliamentary committee that since the National Assembly directed the nationalisation, little had been done, throwing their restructuring plans into disarray.

Mr Joseph said since July when parliament voted to nationalise the listed airline, approving the government’s buying out of the minority shareholders, there was no clear roadmap and set timelines for the programme, placing the airline at risk of plunging into more debts.

He told the National Assembly’s Transport Committee that while they had worked out their plans and engaged both financial and legal advisers on the nationalisation programme, there was little that had been done by the government to actualise the plan.

“Our frustrations and impatience is that about six months later, we have no timelines on when the process should end. We are not even sure if it will go to conclusion,” said Joseph.

He added: “We are frustrated that this is really taking long. We have vented as much as we can and I am sure even the PS (Transport Principal Secretary Esther Koimett) is not happy with me stating this publicly, but we can tell you that unless this is done within the next six months, then the airline will no longer be a strategic asset for this country.”

But Koimett defended the ministry, stating that since parliament’s move, they had formed steering and technical committees that are now handling the specific elements of the process.

She revealed that the committees have since prepared a memorandum to be presented to Cabinet and sought advisory opinion of the Attorney General, who addressed the aspects that need to be taken care of in the process.

by Standard

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BE CAREFUL WHO YOU DATE: McDonalds CEO sacked for dating an employee



McDonald’s president and CEO Steve Easterbrook has been shown the door after showing “poor judgment” by engaging in a “consensual relationship” with an employee.

“Easterbrook… has separated from the company following the board’s determination that he violated company policy and demonstrated poor judgment involving a recent consensual relationship with an employee,” the company said in a statement.

“The company confirms that this leadership transition is unrelated to the company’s operational or financial performance.” added the statement.

In an email to the employees, Easterbrook, who has served as chief executive since 2015 said his relationship was “a mistake” that violated company policy.

“Given the values of the company, I agree with the board that it is time for me to move on,” the email said.

“There isn’t going to be some radical, strategic shift. The plan is working,” he added.

Under his leadership, McDonald’s share price doubled.

AFP reports that just like other fast food chains, McDonald’s is facing headwinds as consumers move to healthier dining options.


In recent years, workplace relationships have cost a number of top executives their jobs, moreso as the #MeToo movement gathers momentum.


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US woos Kenya with big deals, takes swipe at China strategy



The US has unveiled a new strategy to deepen trade relations with Kenya while taking swipe at China’s inroads into Africa.

American Ambassador to Kenya Kyle McCarter yesterday announced the roll-out of a Sh41.3 billion credit facility targeting businesses that source their products from the US, especially those dealing in infrastructure.

He also unveiled a private sector-led initiative meant to spur trade and investment in eight counties.The counties in the Prosper Counties Initiative are Isiolo, Kakamega, Mombasa, Makueni, Kiambu, Kisii, Kisumu and Nakuru.

Mr McCarter said the Export-Import Bank of the United States (EXIM) is currently reviewing “several transactions” that will benefit from the credit line.

“Several engineering firms are in discussion with the National Treasury… we believe this is a start of a strong relationship between our governments,” he said.McCarter was speaking in Nairobi at the second American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) Business Summit that seeks to strengthen trade relations between Kenyan and the US.

And in a thinly-veiled swipe at China, which has been accused of saddling African countries with debt through its Belt and Road Initiative, the envoy said that the US advocates a “self-reliant” Kenya and that its model would not burden the country with debt.

“We’re going to put forth projects that have meaning to Kenyans. Our shared goal is to pave a path to Kenyan self-reliance, for Kenya to move from beneficiary to benefactor,” he said.

“The United States model focuses on long-term growth and sustainability, not debt.”US Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Middle East and Africa Seward Jones urged businesses to identify potential projects that could benefit from the funding.“It is up to US and Kenyan businesses to identify those bankable projects involving US exports,” said Mr Jones.

McCarter, meanwhile, said the Prosper Counties Initiative is in line with the government’s renewed focus on Public-Private Partnerships for projects to cut borrowing.The heightened efforts at deepening trade relations between the two countries are part of a deal signed between the US and Kenya under President Donald Trump’s “Prosper Africa” initiative.

Under the agreement, the government will identify particular projects and areas that “would like to see a greater participation by US companies” mostly in the Big Four agenda.

It will also identify “business climate issues” and unlock bottlenecks that might hinder US companies from taking advantage of business opportunities.The US provides Sh1 billion annual financial assistance to Kenya ranging from health, agriculture, education and security. President Uhuru Kenyatta told investors that he would not relent on the war against corruption in a bid to improve the country’s business environment.


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