Cyber SecurityThere is no denying that online security has become quite a headache as thieves and conmen get more savvy and explore more and more ways to take advantage of the huge audience that the internet affords them. It’s up to the players and especially those like OLX with huge business interests online, as well as Government and consumer protection bodies to make sure that they stay a step ahead of the fraudsters and play their part in giving internet users a fair degree of safety while transacting online.

It is in this light that OLX, the undisputed leader in online classifieds in Kenya, the ICT Authority of Kenya and Consumer Federation of Kenya (COFEK) have recently announced their partnership to launch the ‘kaa ridhoo’ campaign. Kaa ridhoo, which loosely translates to ‘stay alert’, is a much needed ingredient on the internet space as lots of gullible people are known to have been conned. This is a problem that OLX knows only too well. Kaa ridhoo is aimed at raising awareness about educating the public on how to stay safe from miscreants as they go about their businesses on the net.

While online security is certainly a complex challenge, kaa ridhoo in a nutshell is simplified into three simple guidelines to follow when conducting business online:

  • Make sure to only pay for an item when you’re completely happy with it
  • Make sure to release an item only when you’ve received full payment for it
  • Make sure you conduct your transaction in a place where you feel safe. Offline that is.

Says Mr. Peter Ndiang’ui, the OLX country manager, “As an online platform, we have not been exempt from cases of unscrupulous individuals. We have been trying to do our due diligence and provide as much information as necessary to our clients regarding their safety,” he said, “As we are not involved in the transactions between sellers and buyers, this campaign offers the perfect opportunity to reach a wider market.”

As Mr. John Juma, the Vice chairman of COFEK puts it, “COFEK is committed to consumer protection, education, research, consultancy, litigation, anti-counterfeits campaign and business rating on consumerism and customer-care issues. We laud efforts such as this campaign by relevant stakeholders to ensure that the consumers become more knowledgeable and aware of how to keep safe. We will continue to work with organizations that commit to consumer protection as is our mandate.”

This is what the ICT Authority had to say through the Managing Director, Ms. Eunice Kariuki, “We not only want to reach those affected by fraud offline, as is the case with OLX, but online clients as well. Our mandate as the ICT Authority is to co-ordinate the ICT sector, establish, develop and maintain secure ICT infrastructure and systems, and to market Kenya as a local and international ICT hub. If Kenyans do not trust online platforms, it is a setback for us,” she continued. The ICT Authority will soon start using digital certificates which will act as digital ID’s for those contracting online. The system is already piloting at Kenya Revenue Authority.”

A further step that OLX has taken to ensure security of their platform users is partnering with KK Security Group to provide trained private investigators who will be sitting at the OLX offices. “Due to their close working relationship with the police, they will ensure timely solutions to any cases raised during the campaign period and even after. To further promote the success of this partnership, we are also in the process of instituting a toll free number which our clients can call in case they sense any foul play from those who contact them,” said the OLX Country Manager.

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