GIS - 31 August, 2016: A SADC Workshop on Cybersecurity and PKI (public key infrastructure), aiming at sharing best practices and strengthening SADC regional cooperation mechanisms pertaining to cybercrime offenses and developing a Framework for PKIs for SADC Member States, opened yesterday at the Intercontinental Hotel, Balaclava.
Organised by the Ministry of Technology, Communication and Innovation in collaboration with the Southern African Development Community, the four-day event is bringing together more than 50 participants coming from countries in the African region namely: Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Mauritius, Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The resource persons are cybersecurity experts from the International Telecommunications Union.
Issues being discussed include: Current status of Cybersecurity frameworks – Legal and Regulatory, establishment of Computer Incidence Response Teams and PKI; Digital signatures; SADC Cybersecurity regional cooperation and a Roadmap for implementing PKI in SADC; and PKI ecosystem. Also, participants are exploring several case studies on: Cybersecurity incidences in SADC; Regional cooperation on cybersecurity; PKI best practices, regulatory environment and challenges.
In his opening address, the Minister of Technology, Communication and Innovation, Mr Etienne Sinatambou, observed that with the expansion of emerging technologies such as cloud computing, the internet of things and big data, the digital landscape offers unlimited opportunities. However, he said, the internet can also become an efficient medium for cybercriminals to plot and conspire in their cross-border criminal activities, with increasing threats from international organised crimes involving not only cyber thefts, drugs, pseudo trafficking, financial fraud and money laundering.
Mr Sinatambou also mentioned the risks of aggressive cyber actions and other sinister motivations such as cyber espionage, malicious software and cyber-attacks which is what makes bilateral and multilateral cooperation very important.
To facilitate such cooperation, the Minister assured that Mauritius is willing to play its part to promote the exchange of ideas and skills amongst nations and organisations. This is the reason why Mauritius has acceded to the Council of Europe Budapest Convention on cybercrime and became a founder member of the cybersecurity alliance for mutual partnership and also wants to collaborate closely with all SADC Member States, he stressed.
‘We must continue to build our collective capabilities to fight cyber threats, share information and work together to safeguard our cyberspace, the privacy of our people and the ideas and innovations of our countries’, added the Minister.
For his part, Mr Andreas Dlamini, the Representative of the Kingdom of Swaziland (the country presently chairing the SADC), stated that SADC Member States need to gear together to defend their networks and systems at such times when there are illegal intrusions in the SADC cyberspace and which are posing serious threats to financial systems and key national infrastructures. One sure way of keeping cybercriminals out of business is by harmonising legal frameworks and creating appropriate institutional regimes, sharing information and carrying out effective public education, he said.
All delegates bear a responsibility to ensure that the SADC region is cybercrime free and it is our duty to never drop guard and keep the momentum of building our cybersecurity growing so that we see less and less of cybercriminal activities succeeding, stressed Mr Dlamini.
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