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Mobile devices in Kenya will be assigned Internet Protocol (IP) addresses as part of the government’s attempts to crack down on cyber crime

Bitange Ndemo, Kenyan information and communication permanent secretary, said the government, through the Communication Commission of Kenya (CCK), was pushing mobile operators to give each device, including cellphones and tablets, unique IP addresses.

He added that this would help track and monitor user activity on these mobile devices and supplement the ongoing registration of mobile phone SIM cards.

Speaking at the opening of the East Africa Cyber Security Convention 2012 last week at Laico Regency in Nairobi, Ndemo revealed that mobile operators had missed several deadlines to comply with the order and he called on CCK to expedite the matter.

He explained, “Operators are exposing themselves to litigation by ignoring the IP address procedure. We want them to comply, because this information will be linked with other government databases to improve integrity and combat cybercrime since we are able to trace the users.”

Data available with the government has shown that Kenya currently has more than 20mn mobile phone users and the use of tablets was also picking up. Internet use has grown from three million subscribers five years ago to more than 14mn currently, Ndemo said, thus exposing the country, organisations and individuals to cybercrime.

Government records also revealed that in the first quarter of 2012, more than 8,903 cyber security incidents were reported in Africa and of those, 4,501 were related to fraud that included 2,304 phishing attacks that targeted banks.

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