The Internet Society (ISOC) in partnership with the African Union Commission has launched a new set of Internet Infrastructure Security Guidelines for the continent that is set to change the way African countries approach cyber security preparedness.
The guidelines were unveiled during the Africa Internet Summit taking place in Nairobi 30 May - 2 June and are the first of their kind in Africa. They were developed by a multi-stakeholder group of African and global Internet infrastructure security experts.
AU member states will be able to strengthen the security of their local Internet infrastructure through actions at a regional, national, ISP/operator and organizational level.
Speaking at the launch, Dawit Bekele, Africa Regional Bureau Director for the Internet Society said though Africa has made major strides in developing its internet infrastructure, there is still lack of trust as the African Internet is not immune tp cyber-attacks and other security threats as seen from recent experiences of ransomware attacks.
Moctar Yeday, head of Information Society Division, African Union said, “This is another timely milestone achievement given the new security challenges in cyberspace. The Commission of AU will continue its partnership with the Internet Society on a second set of guidelines addressing personal data protection in Africa.”
According to ITU ICT Facts and Figures 2016, it is estimated that 25.1% of Africans are now online and despite lower Internet access rates vs. other regions in the world, there has been a sustained double-digit growth in Internet penetration over the past 10 years.
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This was attributed largely to an increase of mobile Internet and in more affordable smart phones in the market and Africa’s young, technology-savvy population. However, to continue to improve access and connect the unconnected, people need to trust the Internet.
Symantec, a global leader in cyber security, reported 24 million malware incidents targeting Africa in 2016 though the number could have been higher as most cases are never reported.
In the 2015 Deloitte Global Threat Index, Kenya was ranked the 69th most vulnerable country (out of 127). Some of the main reasons were said to be low awareness, underinvestment, talent shortage and overload of data. Deloitte further estimates that Kenya lost $171 million to cybercrime in 2016.
And as internet penetration grows and more business takes place online. ISOC insists implementing security measures against malware incidents to protect internet users is vital. And most importantly, the solutions must be tailored towards the ever changing African cyber security environment.
ISOC is non-profit organization dedicated to ensuring the open development, evolution, and use of the Internet. The Internet Society is also the organizational home of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF).
Image: Internet Society