Thursday, May 10, 2018

Cybersecurity Has Posed A Threatening Risk In Africa

SDGs ensure to combat cyber crime while advancing internet inclusion for all.
Achieving a reliable, safe, secured, trusted and most affordable internet services for all users is the key priority of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in advocating for technical and well connected societies around the globe. People are wholly relying on the internet for education access, healthcare (e-health), employment (e-government), commerce and general information consumption.
Indeed, It;s increasingly becoming clear that achieving governments are implementing SDGs in order to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all, without e-policy and universal internet access in the country, leaders will not successfully accomplish to eradicate poverty.
The emphasis on cybernetic world and embracing about open ecosystem of the internet, we must be cautious of the fact that we have not achieved a safe and secure internet, per se, at this point. Opportunities for cybercrime abound and are known to have caused major disruptions and losses for business, organizations, governments and individuals. Activities across Africa illuminate the challenges, opportunities, loopholes and lessons. African states should learn a lesson from those developed countries that went through cyber attacks. The efforts to combat increasing cybercrime, across the continent must encouraged while we are  still moving toward internet inclusion for all.

Trends in cyberattacks 

The IEEE Internet Initiative, in cooperation with IST-Africa, hosted several experts in technology and e-policy about Internet and governance as well as cybersecurity, privacy. The conference took place in Windhoek, Namibia in May 2017. About sixty-five technologists, developers, policy makers and other stakeholders from 25 countries took part.
Event participants detailed the significant progress made across sub-Saharan Africa in the last decade whereby discussion on cybersecurity awareness and officiating necessary legal and implementation frameworks in place to foster a safe, secure, trusted environment across the continent. However, despite good progress, it was clearly noted that many African countries have “a long way to go” . The participants have also talked about the collaboration and partnerships among African countries as an important component in achieving cybersecurity goals.
African countries are estimated to have lost at least $2 billion due to cyberattacks in 2016. These losses is result  from cybercriminals and hacking which included $171 million in Kenya, $85 million in Tanzania, and $35 million among Ugandan companies. The particular issues either contributing to the rise of or helping cybercrime vary widely across the continent, participants said. There is a sense of urgency around the problem, too, driven by Africa’s smartphone explosion, which is transforming how public services are delivered and business and politics are conducted.

Public awareness and education on cybersecurity

Cybersecurity awareness has been recognized as a key and cost-effective part of the solution to combatting cybercrime across Africa and elsewhere in the world.
The ability of cybersecurity-awareness programs to measurably reduce risk has been demonstrated, and, so, programs should be distributed broadly to and among users—that is, citizens, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), companies and government departments. Users have to have an opportunity to learn about the risks of using the internet and learn how to protect themselves and how to use the technology safely. South Africa is one of the paradoxical examples of problems and progress with regard to cybercrime. While the country is regarded as both a victim and frequent safe haven of cybercriminals, it also is home to one of Africa’s success stories of cybersecurity awareness; that being provided by the Centre for Cyber Security (CCS) located at University of Johannesburg (UJ).
“It is the first such dedicated facility for Cyber Security established in Africa,” reads the CCS website, www.cybersecurity.org.za. “The establishment of this Centre at the UJ is a unique opportunity to advance the Cyber Security of all consumers and users in South Africa and the rest of Africa. “The main purpose of the Centre is to act as a trusted, independent and objective body which can deliver a wide range of services in the area of Cyber Security and Critical Information Infrastructure Protection (CIIP) to stakeholders in SA, southern Africa and eventually Africa.”

Maximizing Cybersecurity

Sustainability is another key consideration. How can we sustain a safe and secure internet as the number of internet users grows? There are numerous proposed tactics include training substantially more people to prevent or respond to cybercrime and instilling a culture of cybersecurity among young users.
There are needs for shared language on cybersecurity among policymakers and teachers, as well as to personalize cybersecurity education patterned to the devices people are using. For example, one of the ideas discussed at the IEEE event was how, when a computer or mobile device is purchased, the buyer could receive a copy of a cybersecurity clause (with terms and conditions translated into an easily understandable document) and acknowledge that he/she has read it. This would raise cybersecurity awareness and also be an opportunity to teach safe use (practices) of the internet.

IoT Proliferation And Data Protection 

The emergence and increasing use of IoT sensors and devices brings up new challenges in combatting cybercrime. Companies have started using IoT devices in many African countries, enabling some very specific and inventive applications. Egypt is an example of where IoT rollout is outpacing and complicating data-protection legislation. Participants commented strongly that the need for harmonized legislation for cross-border issues is growing more clear as internet infrastructure (including IoT infrastructure) deployment and its use and users are rapidly increasing across the continent.

National CIRTs

Vibrant, responsive cyberteams that are trusted, collaborative and reliable also are crucial to the vision of secure cyberspace in Africa. Computer incident response teams (CIRTs) have been established in many African countries (Cameroon, Uganda, Mauritania, Egypt and Mauritius, among them), but progress and effectiveness vary widely across the continent:
  • National CIRT establishment in Namibia is underway and is seen as the central driver for badly needed public-awareness efforts
  • Kenya has established cybersecurity strategy and a CIRT to mitigate the advance of cybercrime. The country’s widespread use of mobile money introduces particular challenges to be addressed
  • South Africa has about four CIRT organizations, but public awareness of their roles and relationship to one another is not strong, according to participants at the IEEE event.

Conclusion

IEEE Internet Initiative working groups of diverse professionals today are continuing explore the topics discussed at the IEEE ETAP Forum. With universal, reliable internet access so intimately linked with efforts to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity globally, it is critical that the world’s technical and policy communities work together to not let cybercrime undercut the progress. This special report was delivered from the conference's presentation and narrated by Science and Tech

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