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Safaricom To Start Paying Handsomely Those Who Can Successfully Hack Into Their System

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The target groups are university and college students, innovation centres like iHub and iLab, cyber security forums such as Africa Hackon, ISACA and Hackathons.

Through a partnership with HackerOne, a cyber-security company, hackers can submit bugs they may find in a confidential and responsible manner which will then be vetted and triaged by the HackerOne team independently.

“The reason for starting this program was to encourage hackers to report any bugs/vulnerabilities that they may find in Safaricom’s products and services to Safaricom in a confidential and ethical manner instead of exploiting them or disclosing them to the public,” said Thibaud Rerolle, Safaricom’s Technology Director.

According to the firm if the issue is found to be valid, HackerOne will then forward it to Safaricom for confirmation before awarding the hacker for their effort.

Mr Rerolle said the award can range between Sh25,000 ($250) and Sh200,000 ($2,000) depending on the severity of the bug.

“The HackerOne platform is used by many Fortune 500 companies – the likes of Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Apple and even the US Department of Defence,” said Mr Rerolle.

As of July 2018, HackerOne’s network consisted of approximately 200,000 security researchers and had resolved over 72,000 vulnerabilities across over 1,000 customer programs and had paid over Sh3.1 billion ($31 million) in bounty rewards.

A report released by Serianu an IT services consultancy firm, showed that Kenya lost Sh21.1 billion to cybercrime in 2017, a 40 per cent increase from Sh15.1 billion in 2015.

This is a clear indication that hacking is becoming more widespread in the country and the amount of money lost to hacking is increasing rapidly.

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Safaricom also wants to discover more bugs/vulnerabilities by taking advantage of crowd sourcing whereby the telco can leverage on the knowledge and skills of many ethical hackers locally and even globally instead of just relying on their own expertise.

Bug county programs are also generally more cost effective than hiring security consultants to do penetration testing.

This is because for bug bounty programs, you only pay for bug or vulnerabilities found unlike hiring security consultants who are paid based on man hours regardless of whether they find any bugs or vulnerabilities.

Serianu report stated that over 90 per cent of African companies are operating below what is called the “cyber security poverty line”, which is a big concern.

This means that most companies in Africa do not have the basic security measures to deal with cyber security threats and this puts them and their customers at great risk of losing money or even their reputation as a company.

A good example is what happened to Facebook with Cambridge Analytica data breach that cost Facebook more than $100 billion (Sh10 billion) drop in their share price and eventually forced the CEO of Facebook to be summoned by the United States Congress and apologise to the public.

Sector players say the enactment of the Computer and Cyber Crime Bill 2017 was a big step for Kenya in cyber security as crime was not well defined and as a result, it was very difficult to convict anyone of a cybercrime.

They said the proposed Data Protection Bill 2018 is also another big step towards the right direction and is in line with global data privacy laws such as General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

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“However, a lot more still needs to be done by the government and other institutions to reach the same maturity level in cyber security laws as other more developed countries,” said Mr Rerolle.

“In 2017, the US passed over 240 cyber security related bills in various States so this goes to show you we still have a long way to go in Kenya and Africa in general,” added Mr Rerolle.

Source


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Urithi Adopts A Unique Model To Deliver Affordable Housing In Kenya

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Urithi Housing Cooperative Society Chairman Samuel Maina handing over the keys to the new owners of one of the houses during the handing over ceremony of Springs View gated community estate in Gatuanyaga Location of Thika East in Kiambu County.

Since President Uhuru Kenyatta unveiled his Big Four Agenda during his inauguration to serve his second term in office, the different sectors that anchor his legacy have been making all necessary alignments to fit into the presidential vision which can only be achieved through collaboration between public and private sector players.

One of the pillars of President Kenyatta’s legacy is affordable housing, with a target of 500,000 new housing units per year.

Opinions and commentaries have been penned but what has stood out is the many experts who have made a strong case that the projected numbers can only be achieved if stakeholders would embrace the socio-economic model of housing provision.

Legend supports this narrative yet fact is that it is not exclusively dependent on this model but that this will largely drive the realization of this pillar. So what is the socio-economic model of housing, how does it work and does any of the current players in property business operate on this model?

The model is entirely dependent on members, whose contributions are key and vital in initiating and executing any project that seeks to provide housing, be it public or private. Upon payment of a pre-determined deposit or down payment, the balance of the cost is spread out and paid over a period of between 12 and 48 months.

Samwel Maina, the Chairman of Urithi Housing Society, the only player that operates on this model, says monthly subscriptions vary from one member to the other depending on their economic ability.

“For the project timelines to be achieved, also entirely depends on the speed of members to make their contributions. However, slow remittance by some members has contributed to delays being experienced as most times the society has to move with the speed of the slowest member in payment,” he says.

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“Speed is determined by how fast you get money from members. But due to the uncertainty and unpredictable nature of contributions and cash flows we adjust accordingly.”

The pricing does not change over time “simply because the model mitigates on cost of labor, land and materials. Hence making it affordable without changing the initial price.”

Being an off plan project, there are critical steps, approvals and mandatory procedures that must be undertaken. Market sounding is the first of the many steps and acts a notice of the intention to undertake the project.

Then follows mobilization which entails recruiting members and other stakeholders, which process is followed by pursuit of statutory and other approvals by various government bodies, both national and county level.

Once the necessary approvals have been granted, the groundbreaking marks the beginning of construction work, whose completion is entirely dependent on members’ fidelity to make subscriptions.

“There are incidents where a member pays their subscriptions in full and expect that they would get their units but the principle here is that we pool together to own together.

“The explanation is very simple. While you may have paid yours in full, the model works in such a way that those who pay upfront help kick-start the project and sustain it by making the first commitment which is key to property ownership and the subsequent subscriptions take us through to the tail end,” adds Mr. Maina.

Urithi has over the past six years, completed and handed over thousands of housing units in Springviews in Thika, Plainsview in Juja, Gem1 in Witeithie and Lanet Homes (Nakuru and Juja).

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They intend to complete and hand over all housing projects currently under construction in the next 12 months. They include Utange – Mombasa, Gem2 and Rongai Homes which are set for completion in the next quarter for handing over to the members, while investors in the Osteen Terrace Gardens will be delivered by the last quarter of 2019.

“The OTG project is the first-of-its-kind to enable us achieve affordable housing for our members and we are using the socio-economic model. This particular project [OTG] is very timely and it will hugely compliment the government’s efforts in attaining the big 4 agenda – the housing component, by engaging other stakeholders like us,” adds the Urithi boss.

President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Big Four Agenda focuses on expanding the manufacturing sector, Universal Health Care, Food security and Affordable housing.

Under the affordable housing pillar, the government through the National Housing Corporation and collaboration with private sector players, intends to construct 500,000 units annually by using innovative construction methods and low cost building and construction materials.

“The government will achieve its dream fast if they partner with the saccos and cooperatives. Cooperatives and Saccos have structures, a wide geographical reach and most importantly members,” avers Mr. Maina, who believes affordable housing is a major milestone towards achieving the other three pillars of President Kenyatta’s legacy plan.


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Airtel Kenya And Telkom Make Official Their Merger To Face Off Safaricom’s Dominance

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Telkom Kenya Limited and Airtel Networks Kenya Limited, today announced the signing of a binding agreement that will see the shareholders of the two companies enter into an agreement to merge their respective Mobile, Enterprise and Carrier Services businesses in Kenya to operate under a joint venture company to be named Airtel-Telkom.

Telkom Kenya Limited’s real estate portfolio and specific government services will not form part of the combined entity. The final shareholding will be determined at the closing of the transaction. Telkom Kenya has the option of holding up to 49 per cent of that shareholding.

The merged company will be chaired by Telkom Kenya Limited CEO, Mr. Mugo Kibati while Airtel Networks Kenya Chief Executive, Mr. Prasanta Sarma, will be appointed Chief Executive Officer.
The finalisation and closure of the transaction is subject to approval by the relevant authorities.
Airtel Networks Kenya Limited (Airtel Kenya) and Telkom Kenya Limited (Telkom Kenya) will see no immediate changes to their operations which will continue as usual.

Similarly, there will also be no change to the current respective leadership and management, legal, organisational and staffing structures. Additionally, both brands: ‘Airtel’ and ‘Telkom’, as well as their respective products and solutions, will continue to co-exist. Similarly, service delivery to the respective companies’ customers as well as engagement with all business partners of both companies will continue to operate as usual.

As per the agreement, both the partners will combine their operations in Kenya and establish an entity with enhanced scale and efficiency, larger distribution network and strategic brand presence, thereby enhancing the range and quality of products and service offerings in the market, and greater choice and convenience to the consumer.

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The combined entity will see sustained investments in networks to further accelerate roll out of future technologies. The Enterprise and Carrier Services businesses will get a boost with a larger fibre footprint and increased number of enterprise customers – including both large corporations and SMEs who would have access to a diverse portfolio of world-class solutions.

Commenting on the agreement, National Treasury Cabinet Secretary, Mr. Henry Rotich said:
“This move is well aligned with the government’s agenda to optimise the value of the assets that it holds in trust, on behalf of Kenyans, while cementing the country’s position not only as a regional business hub but also as an international investment magnet.”

ICT Cabinet Secretary, Mr. Joe Mucheru commented: “ICTs remain a vital link to achieving Kenya’s economic goals and our national development agenda, particularly with respect to service delivery. Such mergers have had positive impact on the development of the sector and service levels to consumers in other markets. Similarly, we look forward to this merger leading to the introduction of new technologies and telecommunication products which will, in turn, support the growth of other business sectors of our economy, thereby spurring national production to meet the growing demand locally and beyond.”


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RBA Gives Cytonn Investment The Nod To Manage Retirement Benefit Schemes Funds

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Investments Manager at Cytonn Maurice Oduor.

Cytonn Asset Managers Ltd (CAML) says it has been registered and authorised by the Retirement Benefits Authority (RBA) to manage retirement benefit schemes funds.

The Capital Markets Authority (CMA) also licensed CAML in March 2018. The Cytonn arm said it will “further grow its regulated products portfolio to include fund management services for retirement benefits schemes” following the nods.

“Despite the retirement benefits assets under management growing to about Sh1.2 trillion as of June 2018, only 15 per cent of Kenyans belong to a registered pension scheme and there is a vast opportunity to increase this,” said Cytonn Asset Managers principal officer Maurice Oduor.

“With this licence, we look forward to adding value to the retirement benefits industry by reaching more Kenyans and enabling them to save for their retirement and securing their future.”

According to Zamara, a pension fund administrator, pension funds only earned 9% p.a in the last year. The entry of Cytonn into the pensions industry brings high yielding products earning upto 18% p.a into the industry.

Cytonn Asset Managers earlier acquired Seriani Asset Managers Ltd.


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