In Summary
  • The unmasking of the rot at the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) reveals new, shocking crimes that were hitherto unknown to many Kenyans.
  • The heightened security situation in Kenya provides opportunity for criminals to harvest data from unsuspecting citizens to use for these emerging crimes.
  • We must change strategy on security to defeat the menace.
  • Like drops of rain gather to become floods, our personal data too gathers to become an attractive resource sought by entrepreneurs and thieves in equal measure. Protect it.

The unmasking of the rot at the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) reveals new, shocking crimes that were hitherto unknown to many Kenyans.

The heightened security situation in Kenya provides opportunity for criminals to harvest data from unsuspecting citizens to use for these emerging crimes.

We must change strategy on security to defeat the menace.

Personal data has more value today than ever before. Hence the insatiable need for the resource in virtually every online transaction, conferences and in several establishments for security purposes.

Demand for personal data makes the entire security systems vulnerable to manipulation.

In many establishments, you are asked to leave such data as your identity number or the physical card, phone number, e-mail address, place of work and all manner of other data without knowing the purpose. Sometimes, you are asked to provide your picture.

Often, you may not be aware that someone has stolen your identity and used it to commit fraud, typically by falsifying your credentials to open new accounts in your name or using your existing accounts.

With many of the security agents grossly underpaid, they are often tempted to sell information to organised criminals.

SIM CARD

Through a technique called ''phishing'' (impersonation to get institutions such as telecommunications or banks to reveal personal information, such as passwords and credit card numbers), criminals do eventually hack into people’s accounts and steal money.

Telecommunication companies have been experiencing this form of identity theft for a while now. Criminals have sometimes managed to swap a client’s SIM card by getting the organisations to cancel and reactivate it, thus enabling the criminals to effectively own it and use as their own.

As soon as they take control of the client’s SIM, they can potentially obtain bank passwords to transfer funds.

Many people are not aware that their data could be of value to criminals. In the NTSA scam, criminals used identities from deceased people to import and sell vehicles without the knowledge of family members.

This unfortunate practice should be a wake-up call to effectively seal loopholes in the management of identity.

Page 1 of 2