Govt to introduce digital signature to avert cyber-crime

As part of efforts to prevent cyber-crime, the Government has unveiled plans to issue digital certificates and signatures to organisations, which will allow for authentic access of information on online platforms.
A man surfs the internet. (Timothy Kisambira)
A man surfs the internet. (Timothy Kisambira)

As part of efforts to prevent cyber-crime, the Government has unveiled plans to issue digital certificates and signatures to organisations, which will allow for authentic access of information on online platforms.

The national Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) project is part of the Government’s plan to boost cyber security.

 

The initiative was revealed during an infrastructure awareness workshop that attracted various stakeholders from Rwanda Development Board (RDB) and other institutions in Kigali, yesterday.

 

The Minister of Youth and ICT, Jean-Philbert Nsengimana, said increase in the use of digital systems is prompting a rise in cyber criminals and secure systems to safeguard all users are becoming necessary.

 

“In this era where we are focusing on transiting into a cashless and paperless economy, online security is very important. We need these digital certificates to work as identity cards,” said Nsengimana.

He added that enhancing security through the use of certificates would help cut down the cost of doing business since this usually increases with the delays of stamping documents to ensure their authenticity.

“A printed document without a stamp is not strong and most times someone has to rush to someone in another office to have it stamped. This wastes time and increases expenditures,” Nsengimana said.

A law was enacted in 2010 to ensure that electronic messages, signatures and transactions are secure.

The PKI Centre

In 2013, Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Authority developed PKI regulations and security standards and a year later, it received root certification authority to carry out cyber audits.

In 2015, PKI centre was established and is currently integrating pilot projects between the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning and Rwanda Revenue Authority online.

On the duration of the certificates, Charles Mugisha, the head of cyber security at RDB, said a review would be made and certificates renewed after a year.

“Such operations will be specialised and issuance carried out at institutional level. RDB will have powers to issue or evoke a certificate,” said Mugisha.

He said future plans of harmonising cyber security are considering involving other countries in the region to ensure that Rwanda moves along with other EAC member states.

editorial@newtimes.co.rw

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