Internet Protocols: Safety Nets Securing Your Internet

  • An image showing an internet connection cable
    An image showing an internet connection cable.
  • Internet Protocols play a major role when one is using the internet. They are a set of rules that govern how information is shared from one person to the next through the internet.

    With the help of Internet Protocols - commonly referred to as IPs, information sent through the internet meant for a person in Nairobi is not sent to the person in Moyale. 

    Internet Protocols are in charge of locating the right address that should receive the intended information. An IP address is a unique identifier that is assigned to each computer device on the internet.

    When information is sent from one computer to the next, the Internet Protocol breaks it down into small packets of information which are then reassembled when it gets to its destination. 

    Several devices allocated unique IP addresses
    Several devices allocated unique IP addresses

    In 1983, the first version of the Internet Protocol, IPv4, was launched. It can accommodate close to 4.3 billion IP addresses, a number that is not enough for the increasing number of devices. IPv6 has 340 trillion IP addresses.

    IPv4 at times assigns one IP address to more than one device. This can result in information going to the wrong person or a loophole that encourages cybercrimes.

    The Communication Authority of Kenya is planning on transitioning from IPv4 to IPv6 in July 2023 in a bid to enhance cyber security. The new version of Internet Protocols support end-to-end IP Security protocol mode.

    Kenya is leading other countries in the East African region in adopting IPv6. IPv6 adoption rates in Kenya are currently at under 8 percent, Uganda at 0.3 percent, Tanzania at 0.11 percent, Rwanda at 6.34 percent, Burundi and South Sudan at 0 percent.

    The Communication Authority - in readiness to fully migrate to IPv6 - will conduct awareness campaigns through online platforms, pamphlets, newspapers, radios, and any outreach programs to woo the public to embrace the change.

    As part of the CA’s regulatory intervention measure to ensure uptake of IPv4, only devices with IPv6 capability will be approved in Kenya starting July 2023.

    Cyberspace is a complex territory and most people do not understand how to navigate the space.

    Without adequate knowledge, one is likely to fall victim to cybercrimes like identity theft, security hacking, cyberbullying, spamming, social engineering, etc.

    Safer Internet Day celebrations marked at the CA grounds
    Former Director General Mercy Wanjau and Google Country Director Charles Murito launch the Google “Be Internet Awesome” campaign during the Safer Internet Day celebrations marked at the CA grounds