Invest in efforts to counter cyber-crime

Allow me to commend Rwanda National Police for taking a strong lead in cyber-related frauds in Africa. A quick perusal of the news shows so far will show that RNP is one of the most active security organs in combating cyber-crimes in Africa.
Last year, Police foiled a plan by a group of Rwandans and foreigners to steal a whopping $700,000  from a local commercial bank by hacking into an international transfer system.  File
Last year, Police foiled a plan by a group of Rwandans and foreigners to steal a whopping $700,000 from a local commercial bank by hacking into an international transfer system. File

Editor,

RE:How Police tracked and foiled $700, 000 bank robbery” (The New Times, January 23).

 

Allow me to commend Rwanda National Police for taking a strong lead in cyber-related frauds in Africa. A quick perusal of the news shows so far will show that RNP is one of the most active security organs in combating cyber-crimes in Africa.

 

Cyber-related fraud costs the world economy $500 million, Nigeria faces a loss of $500 million and Kenya $36 million to cyber fraud annually.

 

I would like to point out four issues. Firstly, the use of pirated software contributes to high vulnerability to cyber-attacks. This is not only a Rwandan problem but an African problem in general.

Genuine software is expensive to a modest cyber-café. Microsoft Office alone would cost the café approximately Rwf320,000 for the 2016 version per computer. If a café has 10 computers this is approximately Rwf3.2 million per year.

The personal/home use of Office version is approximately Rwf83,000 per year. This is not limited to Microsoft products, but others too, including popular Adobe are affected. This scenario is replicated throughout Africa which presents Africa with serious cyber-crime vulnerabilities.

Secondly, our local cyber-crime specialists are quite inadequate. Tertiary institutions (universities and technical colleges) need to offer such programmes so as to meet the demand in the near future. I am not aware of any IT professional colleges in Rwanda that offer a professional course in cyber-security.

Thirdly, I’m not sure what law the offenders will be prosecuted under, as I’m not aware if Rwanda has a computer and cyber-crime law in place. Cyber-crime is not limited to finances, but includes child pornography, cyber-bullying...

Fourthly, attention needs to be paid to home-grown cyber-terrorism. So far, African countries have not reached a level where hackers at home terrorise national security, but there are several cases here and there of hate speeches in the form of text messages being circulated to intimidate groups of people.

I hope with this momentum from Rwanda National Police, Rwanda will lead the way in Africa in cyber-security and I dare hope we will produce some of the continent’s best experts in this field.

As President Paul Kagame says, let’s continue to “dream big!””

Kigali Girl

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