Com­puter Crime, Cy­ber Se­cu­rity Bill must be fast-tracked

The Manica Post - - Comment & Feedback -

EDITOR — From the com­puter on your desks, the cars that we drive, and the phones that we carry, the planes we fly, the banks that hold your money, the hos­pi­tals that keep us alive and the very in­fras­truc­ture that makes our Zim­babwe cities run­ning.

The ba­sis of our mod­ern lives should be the rea­son why our Zim­bab­wean Gov­ern­ment should im­me­di­ately im­ple­ment Com­puter Crime and Cy­ber Se­cu­rity Bill.

It’s been 12 years since the Gov­ern­ment of Zim­babwe pledged to come up with so­lu­tions to curb cy­ber crime.

Surely 12 years is a very long time con­sid­er­ing that tech­nol­ogy has lit­er­ally taken over our day to day life.

Our anal­y­sis at present points to, Gov­ern­ment in­sti­tu­tions have been less af­fected by se­cu­rity breaches than the Zim­babwe pri­vate sec­tor, hence has not fast tracked this im­por­tant bill.

As Zim­babwe In­for­ma­tion Com­mu­ni­ca­tion Tech­nolo­gies (ZICT) we are re­li­ably in­formed that the Com­puter Crime and Cy­ber Se­cu­rity Bill is cur­rently be­ing moved from one of­fice to the other at the At­tor­ney Gen­eral’s Of­fice.

For God’s sake, this bill should be fast tracked and brought be­fore Par­lia­ment of Zim­babwe so that our Min­is­ter of In­for­ma­tion Com­mu­ni­ca­tion Tech­nol­ogy and Cy­ber Se­cu­rity can start work­ing on the man­date and start putting the struc­tures in place.

As ZICT, we hope and pray that all the struc­tures will be put in place as soon as pos­si­ble to pro­tect the peo­ple of Zim­babwe as we head to­wards the 2018 elec­tions.

As a na­tion, we live in an in­creas­ingly net­worked world, from per­sonal bank­ing to Gov­ern­ment in­fras­truc­ture to mo­bile bank­ing and mov­ing to­wards a cash­less so­ci­ety.

Pro­tect­ing those net­works is no longer op­tional, but a ne­ces­sity.

Cy­ber se­cu­rity has to be on top of our na­tional agenda as high-pro­file breaches raise fears that hacker at­tacks and other se­cu­rity fail­ures will with­out a doubt en­dan­ger the Zim­babwe’s econ­omy in the short-term.

Com­puter Crime and Cy­ber Se­cu­rity can no longer be af­ter­thought when Gov­ern­ment is en­cour­ag­ing the use of In­for­ma­tion and Com­mu­ni­ca­tion Tech­nol­ogy across all struc­tures.

All Gov­ern­ment in­sti­tu­tions and ex­ec­u­tives should fo­cus on cy­ber se­cu­rity as a core fea­ture of day to­day op­er­a­tion.

In short, our Gov­ern­ment in­sti­tu­tions must build se­cu­rity sys­tems to de­tect breaches and deal with hacks be­fore they hap­pen.

Dis­rup­tion on a na­tional scale have ac­tu­ally al­ready hap­pened in 2007, Es­to­nia a for­mer Rus­sian colony found it­self the tar­get of a week-long cy­ber at­tack by Rus­sian hack­ers an­gered by the re­moval of “Mon­u­ment to the Lib­er­a­tors of Tallinn” a fa­mous Soviet statue from the cap­i­tal, Tallinn.

What be­gan as a sharp rhetoric and mild protests quickly be­came a se­ri­ous eco­nomic of­fen­sive when Rus­sian In­ter­net fo­rums urged sym­pa­thetic Rus­sian hack­ers to act and pro­tect Rus­sia’s in­ter­est in the coun­try.

Soon, the com­puter net­works of Es­to­nian banks, gov­ern­ment agen­cies, and me­dia out­lets be­gan fail­ing, due to con­stant and ag­gres­sive cy­ber at­tacks.

ATMs were knocked off­line, in­ter­net servers were down.

It be­came so se­ri­ous that the coun­try had to “pull the plug, sev­er­ing ac­cess to all Es­to­nian web­sites from abroad.

This is de­fined as the world’s first cy­ber war, or Cy­ber War I.

The fact that we all live in a world which is net­worked to­gether, from in­ter­net bank­ing to gov­ern­ment in­fras­truc­ture, and thus, net­work pro­tec­tion is no longer an op­tional ex­tra. Cy­ber se­cu­rity is now an in­ter­na­tional con­cern, as high-pro­file breaches have given many con­cerns that hacks and other se­cu­rity at­tacks could en­dan­ger the global econ­omy.

In May 2017, ZICT held a Cy­ber Crime and Cy­ber se­cu­rity work­shop at a Harare ho­tel. It was at­tended by se­nior Gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials, po­lit­i­cal lead­ers, CEOs and rep­re­sen­ta­tives from com­puter se­cu­rity com­pa­nies, ma­jor re­tail­ers, law en­force­ment and tech­ni­cal ex­perts and the fo­cus was to col­lab­o­rate and ex­plore part­ner­ships that will help de­velop the best ways to bol­ster Zim­babwe’s cy­ber se­cu­rity. (Doc­u­ment at­tached) Now that we have the Min­is­ter of In­for­ma­tion Com­mu­ni­ca­tion Tech­nol­ogy and Cy­ber Se­cu­rity as the first step to fight these pos­si­ble at­tacks and pray that they will be given the man­date soon to put the struc­tures in place. Be­fore I con­clude can I re­mind you that we also have the Elec­tronic Trans­ac­tions and Elec­tronic Com­merce Bill, 2013 which also needs to be im­ple­mented. We hope Gov­ern­ment con­tin­ues to en­gage stake­hold­ers to avoid the mis­trust that cur­rently ex­ists.

En­gi­neer Ja­cob Kudzayi Mutisi

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