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East Africa: Cyber Security Meeting Kicks Off in Dar
Source: Tanzania Daily News
Source Date: Friday, March 28, 2014
Focus: Electronic and Mobile Government
Country: Tanzania
Created: Mar 28, 2014

IT is time for people to be alert when it comes to security safety, whether using a phone, tablet, Ipad or even the laptop as long as it is connected to the internet.

This was said at the first annual Dar es Salaam cyber security conference which started yesterday and will be held for two days with the aim of solving the cyber security puzzle facing people in the East African Region.

Speaking at the conference, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Communications, Science and Technology, Professor Patrick Makhungu, said that the issue of security in the use of Information and Communication Technology (ICTs) is important for the international community and which calls for coordinated action at both international and National levels.

"Bridging the 'digital divide' has been of utmost concern for us in recent years. With almost two thirds of the global population still offline and a daunting gap of around 60 pre cent in Internet penetration between Africa and Europe, we know that many challenges still remain.

"I am confident, however with hard work and concerted efforts that we will overcome these challenges, and will be able to ensure digital inclusion, so that everyone, everywhere, can enjoy the benefits and opportunities of connectivity," said Professor Makhungu.

Further, he said that the loss of trust and confidence compromises the benefits of ICTs as an enabler of global social and economic development. It may also undermine business opportunities and economic efficiencies.

"As our physical and cyber worlds overlap, there is an increased need to address the related challenges of ensuring security, human rights, and the rule of law, good governance and socio-economic development," continued Professor Makhungu.

Moreover, he said that the recent high profile revelations about surveillance activities, widely covered in international media have highlighted the lack of trust and the need of agreed norms and principles to rebuild confidence.

However important they are, cyber-espionage and cyber-war, are not the only issues, it also includes the daily use of the Internet, such as online banking safety, internet fraud, data protection and undisrupted use of systems which are all crucial for building trust in cyberspace among its users.

Governments commitment in helping curb cyber crime is an ongoing course as a number of activities are undertaken as we speak including a bill that is yet to be introduced to parliament on ICT related regulation issues, added Professor Makhungu.

There is growth of internet usage in the East African Region as a lot of people now are in social networks, mobile computing, cloud computing, but with little regard on how safe or secured the documents are, said the Managing Director of Serianu Limited, Mr William Makatiani.

"We need other alerting mechanism rather than the normal security settings we apply in our software to show, and it is not enough to have an ICT professional to be an internet security person unless they have undergone certain training," he said.

He added that over a million attacks from hackers against Internet Protocol (IP) address located in the region were detected, and cyber criminals are selling stolen credit cards issued by East African banks on line.

While business in the region is experiencing cases of insider threat including data leakage and insider fraud.

"Unless you switch off completely from the internet then it is very hard to say you are private, as cyber criminals look for the same doors you have opened to hack in, especially when organizations try to link its branches; hence it is very important to invest more in cyber security for better protection of your privacy," advised Mr Makatiani.

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