Cyber security should be priority for governments – experts

1 Apr
Banner: Innovative Africa Digital (IAD) summit

Banner: Innovative Africa Digital (IAD) summit

By Lamin Jahateh

Efforts to create secure and private communications on the internet has to be top priority on every agenda of governments’ national policy-making, experts in Information and Communications Technology (ICT) and regulators have said.

During a workshop on cyber security as part of the 12th Innovation Africa Digital (IAD) summit in Banjul, the stakeholders said is important for governments to look into their policy-making processes to ensure cyber security for their citizens, for enterprises and for government entities to be given priority, as most of their activities now are digitized.

The nature of governments’ policy making needs to be changed from being reactive to cyber security issues to being proactive and preventive.

The chairperson of the cyber security workshop, Britta Classen, told APA on Wednesday that threats of cybercrime is increasing on a daily basis, therefore, governments need to put in place policies and regulations against cybercrimes, and they have to do it now.

There is a need also for the police departments to be enforced, to be trained to have the technical know-how and the skills to use the law to prosecute cyber criminals.

There should be cyber inspectors, people who will be trained to know what they are looking for in cybercrimes and if they caught anyone they can actually punish them and make them responsible for their cybercrimes.

However, Ms Classen said no single government agency can claim a comprehensive understanding and a sufficiency wide authority to manage all facets of cyber-security on a nationwide basis.

So many departments should be inter-linked to make sure they work together against cybercrimes.

Public private partnership

Ms Classen noted that many private institutions already have security measures in places, they are one step ahead of the government in that regards.

“So governments do not have to re-invent the wheel in that area, they have to work together with the private sector to see how they can help to take-up the problem of cyber-security,” she said.

Public-private cooperation and coordination between government, the private sector and civil society needs to be promoted.

International cooperation

International coordinated attempts to harmonise the different national cyber security approaches need to be further encouraged to develop a policy system that transcends borders.

According to Ms Classen the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) or the African Union should come-up with joint international policy to protect people from cybercrimes because the crime is not stopping at national borders.

“For example, I can sit here in The Gambia and go online and hack into an email system of somebody in Mozambique or in America. Or even national governments, when they are attacked online and the attack is not coming from within the country, what can do they,” she said.

So it is important that countries and international bodies work together to tackle the global menace.

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