High risk of Web-based fraud as key date missed

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Telecom firms have missed a government deadline to give all Internet-enabled devices unique identifiers, putting Kenyans at greater risk of Web-based fraud.

Information and Communication permanent secretary Bitange Ndemo on Tuesday revealed that Internet service providers had been given a November deadline to ensure that all mobile phones and tablets accessing their networks had unique Internet Protocol (IP) addresses.

Same IP address

Currently, mobile operators assign a group of devices the same IP address, a process known as Network Address Translation. This makes it difficult for security authorities to trace individuals who may use Internet-enabled machines for criminal activities.

Although the deadline has been missed, Dr Ndemo said assigning IP addresses to all devices is crucial to the  government’s efforts to crack-down on Internet crime.

“It is difficult for the authorities to trace a crime perpetrator to his computer or mobile phone because many devices share the same IP addresses. Service providers are opening themselves up to litigation if they don’t follow these procedures,” said Dr Ndemo.

Almost exhausted

A transition in global standards for IP addresses may be partly to blame for the operators’ failure to assign IP addresses in time.  Currently, most devices have Internet Protocol Version 4 (IPv4) addresses.

But addresses on this version have almost been exhausted and firms are now moving to the next version, IPv6.

Dr Ndemo, was speaking on the sidelines of the 2012 East Africa Cyber Security convention in Nairobi.  The forum brought together technology experts from across the region to deliberate on growing threats.

The Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK) has set December 31 as the deadline for all Kenyans to register their SIM cards as it seeks to curb SMS-based mobile money fraud.

Copyright: Daily Nation

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