Africa’s cyber security infrastructure is improving

November 8, 2012

African governments are working vigorously on elaborate cyber security infrastructure and most of them are located within the departments of information technology that are mandated to take charge of assessing cyber threats and protecting systems in public as well as private sector, especially in crucial areas like aviation, refineries and power stations. Such organizations devise strategies and technical solutions to protect critical infrastructures like intelligence for both police and military departments to mention but a few although some countries have independent cyber security departments handling cyber security of defense systems at Air Force, Army and Navy installations under the umbrella of defense intelligence agencies.In some countries, cabinet meetings have approved creation and extension of legal mandate of cyber security agencies and infrastructures. Cyber security network in Africa has recently involved protection of government systems and private industry. Recently, some governments have taken a close look at various industry partnership in countering cyber challenges and most of them have came up with a host of recommendations like building up institutional mechanisms and appropriate policy and legal frameworks to ensure compliance with cyber security efforts that are ongoing in the continent.In my opinion, there is urgent need for cyber security cooperation in regional and continental bodies by building capacity to overcome chronic shortage of cyber security expats, defining security standards and guidelines for high-risk sectors in both public and private sectors.

Despite the fact that African Union has stressed upon the need for greater cooperation and exchange of information among nations to enhance online security and address issues related to the management of the Internet there is no nation that can fight cybercrime or secure its cyberspace individually therefore there is need for corporation.I strongly believe that a focused cooperation among key industry players, governments, industry and international bodies, is essential to create a secure cyber space.I have no doubt from my experience that cyber security is a critical challenge being faced by stakeholders while exploiting the potential of the Internet is cyber security.African governments should also establish standard and effectively coordinated response strategies, in areas of cyber intelligence, generating alerts and execution of coordinated response in the event of cyber attacks.

Another option is a working on a comprehensive Cyber Security Strategy, which harmonizes existing national and regional bodies criminal laws, ensure cyber justice to users and providers of cyber services, and enables cyber courts with international jurisdictions and to provide cyber justice in near real-time.However, one thing I will never advocate for is turning the Internet into a “target tool” because it is now platform that empowers African population as never before in the history of continent and provides opportunities to the voiceless to be heard. For those who don’t know “Target tool” is a term that refers to rogue authorities using social media crackdown to silence their critics using state funded thugs purporting to be law enforcement agencies.

Contador Harrison