Without Laws Governing Cyber Crime, Is Africa Safe For Cyber Criminals?

Without Laws Governing Cyber Crime, Is Africa Safe For Cyber Criminals?

While there are international efforts to help stop cyber criminals, very little is being done in Africa to strengthen cyber security, RFI reports.

The African Union has created a new convention aimed at tackling cyber crime, but it has not been ratified by a single African country.

Just five countries in continental Africa have any laws governing cyber crime. These include Cameroon, Kenya, Mauritius, South Africa and Zambia, according to South Africa-based Eric Tamarkin, a consultant with the Institute for Security Studies and former senior counsel to the U.S. Senate on cyber security policy.

The Institute for Security Studies, or ISS, is an African organisation that aims to enhance human security on the continent. It does independent research, provides policy analysis and advice, and delivers training and technical assistance. Its headquarters are in Pretoria, South Africa with offices in Kenya, Ethiopia and Senegal.

Cyber security firm Trend Micro said Africa is “the new safe harbor for cyber criminals,” according to RFI. “It seems few African governments are doing anything to address this.”

Recent studies show almost 20 percent of Africans were expected to have Internet access by the end of 2014, Tamarkin said. Subscriptions on mobile phones are expected to grow 20-fold between 2014 and 2019 — double the growth rate of the rest of the world.

“We’re looking at a lot more people having access to the Internet and therefore a lot more potential victims to cyber crime. The question is whether or not, as more and more people become connected … there’s appropriate safeguards … a multi-layered approach to fighting cyber crime. Its not just international instruments to unite the world in an effort to fight cybercrime, it’s also about cybersecurity awareness and education, individuals understanding the need to have strong passwords and not to click on certain links that they don’t trust. So if African countries don’t address the cybercrime element there will certainly be a safe harbor here on the continent.”

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