With Internet attacks becoming a threat to governments around the world, Cameroon's National Agency for Information and Communication Technologies (ANTIC) recently held a cybersecurity and cybercrime workshop. The aim of the workshop was to identify Cameroon's critical digital assets and look at methods they can be protected.

Speaking at the opening ceremony of the workshop, General Manager of ANTIC, Prof. Ebot Ebot Enaw, highlighted the severity of cybercrimes in Cameroon amongst which scamming, phishing, identity theft through the creation of fake social media accounts, web defacement and skimming were top of the threats list. The 3-day workshop was held with support from the Commonwealth.

"Advances in technology are transforming businesses, and transforming lives, around the world. The way we do business, use the information and communicate with each other has changed beyond recognition in our lifetimes. In the wrong hands, these powerful capabilities can be used to disrupt our everyday lives, instead of improving them. They can be harnessed by malign actors to disrupt our democratic elections, undermine our financial systems and cripple our critical infrastructure, " said Rowan James Laxton, British High Commissioner to Cameroon.

Cyber crime in Cameroon

Over the past several years, Cameroon has been in the news for the wrong reasons as far as the Internet is concerned. During 2017 Internet access was cut in the country’s English-speaking regions amid ongoing protests.

As such, it is quite interesting that the Commonwealth would be quick to support the country's government when it comes to cyber risk assessment but has been relatively muted when it comes to Internet shutdowns in Cameroon.

"The UK is developing its own capability through a system called Active Cyber Defence which is blocking fake emails, taking down phishing attacks and preventing public sector systems from switching to malicious servers. In the past year, this system has stopped over four and a half million malicious emails from reaching users and has weeded out over half a million scam emails that pretended to come from government accounts. The UK is also committed to working with our partners to build cybersecurity capacity across the Commonwealth. The British Prime Minister announced during the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting last year that the UK would be making £15 million available to support this work through to 2020. We are already funding capacity reviews for 11 Commonwealth countries in Africa and Asia under this Programme. The remaining £10 million will be delivered through our Digital Access Programme and the international strand of the National Cyber Security Programme, " said Laxton.

The National Cyber Risks Assessment workshop is part of the Commonwealth’s Cyber Security Programme to support low and middle-income countries to tackle cyber threats.

Cover image credit: National Agency for Information and Communication Technologies

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