A group of 28 investigators from 10 African countries are in Kigali for a Cybercrime Investigation Training for the African region. It seeks to enhance their capacities in overcoming emerging crimes committed through the use of technology.
The four-day training that started on Saturday is organized by Rwanda National Police (RNP) in partnership with international police – Interpol – and will act as a frontrunner for the forthcoming 84th Interpol Annual General Meeting scheduled for Kigali this November.
Expert trainers were drawn from Trend Micro, a global security software company founded in Los Angeles, California with global headquarters in Tokyo, Japan. Participants are from anti cybercrime units in Rwanda, Botswana, Kenya, Tanzania, Central Africa Republic, Gambia, Gabon, Namibia, Nigeria and Zimbabwe.
While opening the training, CP Cyprien Gatete, the Commissioner for Training, Research and Development at RNP, noted that Rwanda attaches great importance to the use of technology which is enshrined in its national policies.
Gatete called on the participants to value the training as an added value to African law enforcement agencies as they share experiences and get access to common forensic tools that will help them work efficiently.
“I urge you professionals at the frontline, who are more informed regarding cybercrime investigations, to utilize this training very well as a forum to create synergy and further collaboration in order to better support each other in overcoming this challenge of cybercrime,” he said.
“The military slogan “train hard, fight easy” fits well in this challenging domain, and as trainees, you need to do everything it takes to stay relevant. Therefore, as law enforcers, we should be bold enough to stage a stiff challenge to the criminals and deny them any slight opportunity to win in this fight.”
Louis Kwan, the Digital Crime Officer at Interpol Digital Crime Centre in Singapore, noted that due to the transnational nature of cybercrime, and the lack of internet governance and reliable attribution mechanisms, law enforcement agencies are better off working together to overcome cybercrime.
“As we become more dependent on mobile devices, cloud computing and social media, we expose ourselves to greater cybercrime risk. Therefore, we must have measures that allow us to detect and attribute attacks to their sources so that local investigations and prosecution can effectively take place,” Kwan said.
“So far, many countries have created dedicated cybercrime investigation units, with the hope to fight cybercrime more effectively – however there is often a skill-shortage among police forces in investigative skills and digital forensics. This skills gap is always covered when nations work together.”
His message was echoed by CSP Oscar Sakindi, the Coordinator of Interpol Regional Digital Crime Officers, who asserted that cybercrime training is crucial for Africa to stay ahead of the criminals by understating new trends and responding with innovative solutions.
“We recognize that law enforcement agencies cannot simply work alone and they need to work more closely with the private sector to share vital information in the detection, prevention and investigating of cybercrime,” Sakindi said.
“This is why we have partnered with our strategic partner, Trend Micro, to organize this training and bring together cybercrime investigators, so that they can learn new techniques to investigate cybercrime.”
According to the 2014 report by US Centre for Strategic and International Studies, the estimated annual cost to the global economy from cybercrime is more than S$400 billion. It is also estimated that 500 million people per year, or about 18 people per second fall victim to cybercrime globally.
This is especially so in Africa, as its growing economies present vast opportunities for cybercriminals to exploit – with the volume of cyber-attacks expected to increase as the risk of being caught is lower than in other crime areas, according to Interpol.
Early in March, the government approved the National Cyber Security Policy which aims at protecting public and private infrastructure from cyber-attacks and to safeguard personal information of web users.
This was complimented by the establishment of the National Computer Security Incident Response Centre with a function to monitor cyber security.
RNP has a partnership with Interpol to fight the vice and trace perpetrators of cybercrimes.