The Transform Africa Summit, a flagship event of the Smart Africa, every year brings together Heads of State and Government, UN Broadband Commissioners, regulators, public and private sector, international organisations, industry leaders, investors, entrepreneurs, young innovators, civil society and academia—to discuss ways and approaches to accelerate the digital economy in Africa.
Speaking at the 5th Transform Africa Summit held in Kigali last week, President Paul Kagame said; “There is need to break down barriers for Africa to take full advantage of our digital future.”
In a similar perspective, Malian President Boubacar Keïta said; “Innovation and digital economy can, among other impacts, improve people’s living conditions by easing trade across borders.”
To achieve a digital economy, it requires, in my opinion, African leaders to put digitalisation at the forefront.
Although digital connectivity is making our lives easier and boosting business competitiveness, the risk of cyberattacks is increasing, upsetting government and private sector operations.
Digital innovations continues to impact our lives and yet the associated concentration of information has become an irresistible target for criminals.
As a result, the total number of cyberattacks is rapidly increasing. In 2016 alone, attacks from the Internet caused more than €500 billion in damages worldwide and accounted for up to 1.6 per cent of Gross Domestic Product in some European countries.
Just last week EUROPOL released a report revealing that “GozNym cyber-crime gang”, an international crime gang, used malware to steal $100 million from more than 40,000 victims.
Therefore, the introduction of Kaspersky Lab—a multinational cybersecurity and anti-virus provider, in Rwanda is timely.
It is a big boost to the country’s cybersecurity systems, given that digitisation is gathering momentum.
The government, for instance, is increasingly adopting digital systems in public service delivery—also known as e-government.
With respect to cybersecurity and anti-virus services, which are vitally important, Kaspersky Lab would bolster the protection of critical infrastructure and sensitive data.
And a lack of such protection affects public infrastructures just as much as the manufacturing industry and the energy and healthcare sectors.
Companies everywhere anticipate that the networking of machines and facilities will not only generate significant financial advantages, but major security challenges as well.
However, the risks are manageable if ICT industry uses a thorough, consistent and up-to-date security mechanisms.
At any rate, Kaspersky Lab is likely to contribute to the development of sophisticated solutions designed to protect ICT industry against cybercrime.
These solutions range may from software packages that ensure that security is always up-to-date with regard to authentication methods (“ID checks”) for machines, as well as monitoring solutions that identify and report cyberattacks in near real time so that countermeasures can be taken as early as possible.
This calls for binding rules and standards to build trust in cybersecurity and further advance digitalization.
Nowadays, the internet of things would be inconceivable without cybersecurity.
In fact, cyber threats are increasing, mainly because more and more devices are connected to the Internet.
That directly affects our daily lives, and here it’s not just our personal data that will be in danger, but our way of life at home and at work.
Just, for example, think of autonomous cars, hospitals, financial institutions, or digital factories without cybersecurity.
So, cybersecurity and anti-virus solutions that can avert the vast majority of threats.
Stronger cybersecurity is, moreover, important as advances in technology and rising demand for real-time payments and transfers are making it easier for money launders to perform criminal activities.
While technology gets more advanced so criminals become more sophisticated.
The increasing use of digital technology in the business world adds another layer of complexity to the task.
Criminal enterprises can hide themselves in plain sight on the web to create an illusion of integrity.
In fact, as the demand for real-time payments and transfers grows, it will likely increase fraudulent transactions as the chances of transactions being scrutinised fully and repudiated before funds disappear decreases.
Indeed, stronger cybersecurity and anti-virus solutions will accelerate a complete departure from traditional ways, which are highly susceptible to cyber-criminals, to digital ways.
One of the challenges commonly faced is incapacity to detect weak spots before cyberattack occur.
Perhaps, Kaspersky Lab, as a well-known solution-provider to cyber threats, through a Computer Emergency Response Team, would contribute significantly to identifying digital vulnerabilities in the ICT industry and quickly provide solutions.
Needless to say, vulnerabilities can occur in any software at any time. Therefore, it’s important to believe that Kaspersky Lab will play a vital role in sensitizing the Rwandans to always be on the lookout for security vulnerabilities.
This would encourage and support those responsible for a product in order to find solutions and inform our customers.
Beyond Rwanda, quoting from G20 Leaders’ Declaration (held in Germany in 2017) “trust in digital technologies requires effective consumer protection, intellectual property rights, transparency, and security in the use of ICT.
We support the free flow of information while respecting applicable legal frameworks for privacy, data protection and intellectual property rights.”
The writer is a law expert.
The views expressed in this article are of the author.