A good number of stakeholders and Internet Service Providers in Africa warned for the last two years that Africa’s banking industry, tourism sector and plenty of other businesses are prone to cyber-related crime hence the urgent need for the African countries to develop a robust defense system. Last year, Ugandan internet users suffered twice due to the data connection after fiber optic cables were vandalized in the neighboring country of Kenya and the millions of Internet users in the pearl of Africa have since become highly prone to disruption, thus the need for data defense to be addressed urgently in Uganda and other landlocked countries in Africa. The highest percentage of data communication in Africa uses underwater fiber optics that runs across the continent, which is prone to all kinds of disturbances like terrorism and piracy as well as vandalism that could disconnect the entire system causing losses running into millions of dollars to bother African and world economies. Data from research conducted last year showed that most system users are small and medium enterprises, tourism and financial businesses. In Africa’s major cities like Lagos, Cairo, Johannesburg and Nairobi the rate of cyber-connected disturbances such as false financial transactions, rising cases of child kidnappings especially in Kenya through Internet communication has grown double fold in the last three years. In a cyber security research in Africa conducted a few months ago, the rising trend in cybercrime in the continent of 1 billion plus people has been blamed on the increasing number of Internet users.
Statistics show that the number of Internet users in Africa is expected to reach 500 million in the next four years despite it currently stands at an estimated 200 million users up from 170 million last year. The increasing use of cyberspace in all aspects of life had further increased the threat to a level that could harm African country’s defense. Statistics from various indicate that Africa is very prone to cyber-related threats due to the high number of domains coupled with very weak protection. Although highly unlikely, any future cyberwar could cripple government operations and performance and it is therefore very important for the countries in Africa to develop a defense system against cyberwar. There are some big brothers with much developed cyber defense systems with whom they can learn from like Russia, United Kingdom, India and North Korea. There is a need for African countries to protect their important infrastructures and the fastest growing private sector, including electricity firms, banks and telecommunications which has been credited for lifting millions of Africans out of abject poverty over the past decade.
(Security Affairs – Secret service, surveillance)