Cyber Threats in Africa

With the rapid spread of digital technology across the African continent, cyberspace is becoming an increasingly important security domain. A growing number of African citizens are falling victim to online fraud, theft, and extortion perpetrated by organized, and increasingly globalized, cyber-enabled criminal networks. Africa’s critical infrastructure, essential to the continent’s future prosperity, is becoming vulnerable to cyber sabotage. Expanding telecommunications infrastructure and the proliferation of cheap malware has enabled foreign powers and African states alike transformed the intelligence industry, exposing African states to novel forms of cyberenabled espionage.

The policy response in most African countries has not kept pace with this rapidly diversifying array of cyber threats. Deficits in human and organizational capacity mean that most cyber incidents go unreported and unaddressed. Though the number of states with cyber security policies and strategies are rising, even Africa’s most cyber mature countries face often fail to establish key interagency coordination mechanisms or anticipate and respond to the latest threats.

The African security sector has a crucial role to play as part of a broader multi-stakeholder approach to cyber space security in Africa – coordinating the protection of critical infrastructure, responding to the most strategically significant threats from organized, armed actors, and in thinking through how best to adapt technological advances into security and military strategies and operations. Yet because information technology is an enabling technology with a broad array of applications, key sources of expertise lie in the private sector, and civil society has a critical role to play in ensuring that digital technology is used transparently and accountably. For the digital revolution to realize its full potential, African governments must adopt a human-centric
approach to cybersecurity.

• What are the cyber-related security challenges in your country or region? How is digital changing the security landscape?
• What practical steps can security sector actors take, working across government, the private sector, and civil society, to address these cyber threats?
• How can African countries advance their cooperation with one another and with external actors to manage the cyber threats they face?

Presented by:
Dr. Nathaniel Allen
Dr. Nnenna Ifeanyi-Ajufo

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