The growth and increased proliferation of digital technologies has led to a sharp rise in cyber-security concerns and threats. It is estimated that there are about 400,000 new unique malware cropping up every day.
With Rwanda’s ambition to further develop digital technologies to support the development of other sectors, increase job creation and improve job delivery, cyber threats are bound to grow.
Eugene Kaspersky, the founder of the world-renowned Kaspersky Lab, a multinational cybersecurity and anti-virus provider headquartered in Moscow, Russia, says that as nations embrace digital technologies, they are bound to be more targeted. This is, among other things, he noted, the reason to build capacities in the aspect.
Kaspersky also noted that there are opportunities for private sector players in multiple capacities. Business Times’ Collins Mwai held an interview with Kaspersky on the sidelines of the Transform Africa Summit in Kigali last week, on a number of aspects in cybersecurity.
Below are excerpts:
What would you say is the level of vulnerability of developing countries such as Rwanda in regards to cyber threats and attacks?
Developed countries have a high risk because they depend on the cyber space much more compared to developing countries. At the same time, they have more abilities and experience to defend themselves. However, developing countries tend to have less developed cyberspaces, infrastructure and less vulnerable. There are also fewer experts in the sector in developing countries
The more you grow, the more vulnerable you are to being a target but the more you will be able to defend yourselves.
That is why cyber security capacities are important to develop, you need more engineers here to develop resources to protect yourselves.
What is the role of the private sector in building a cyber secure ecosystem?
The role of private sector in cybersecurity is as important as that of governments. The role of private sector is to develop technologies, products and services while the role of governments is to introduce regulation for cyber security. When they work together through public-private partnerships, it’s the right model.
Speaking of an ideal cyber world that is safe from threats and attacks, what are some of the characteristics of such an ecosystem?
There are different layers of cybersecurity. There is individual security, small and medium businesses and infrastructure. The individual businesses are mostly online and you can reach them through online markets. With enterprises, they have to be part of a network to support and maintain the system. An ecosystem for industrial scale is more complicated and requires industrial tech companies to help adapt to technologies and systems.
In this area, the most critical thing is education and we need to develop competent engineers from local universities.
But you do realise that we have limited market-ready skills in cybersecurity in the region, what are the best models to bridge this gap?
We need to develop skills and competencies, not just in Rwanda but across the region. We have experience working with universities around the world and do provide trainings and education.
Beyond technical skills, how do we raise awareness among the general public to ensure that they are less vulnerable?
The cyber-security awareness ought to start from schools, in Russia, we start educating students on cyber awareness and security from an early age.