For the 6th year in a row, cyber security experts from East Africa region will be gathering for Cyber Defence East Africa 2018 conference. As 2017 has shown in many instances, cyber-attacks is on many occasions not an institutional, but national and even regional issue as cyber incidents can have great consequences.
The unfortunate occurrence of cyber crisis in sectors such as finance, transport, public health, etc. can have disastrous effects and even lead to crisis at a national level, hence affecting the whole society. „Sub-Saharan Africa’s [economic] growth is projected to reach 3.1 percent in 2018, and to average 3.6 percent in 2019–20“- says Africa’s Pulse, a bi-annual analysis of the state of African economies conducted by the World Bank. Leapfrogging over old technologies and business models Western countries took decades to get used to, African countries are very tech savvy. This fast pace absorption of technologies, the rapidly increasing usage of cloud-based solutions as well as the increasing economic gains are bringing new challenges to securing the cyber environment in East Africa. According to Forbes, in Uganda alone cyber-related incidents now cost organizations $50 million and even more in neighbouring countries.
Cyber Defence East Africa 2018 conference will be addressing how organizations, which are particularly sensitive to cyber incidents, should be preparing and how they should effectively handle the crisis in case of its occurrence. The conference will take place in Kampala, 6-7th of September and is expected to attract up to 150 cyber security professionals along with policy makers and representatives from Critical Infrastructure operators. The event is organized by European company NRD Cyber Security and National Information Technology Authority – Uganda (NITA-U), and is endorsed by NRD Companies.
NRD Cyber Security CEO Vilius Benetis was very positive about the progress East Africa region has made so far: „The most effective way to prevent cyber-attacks, is to be ahead by having good visibility of potential threats and a plan of how to react adequately. It is great to see that the region is already taking steps forward as the countries start thinking and talking about preparation before the actual crisis hits.”
James Saaka, the Executive Director of NITA-U shared that, „Government of Uganda through NITA-U established the National Computer Emergency Response Team and Coordination Center (CERT-UG/CC) to support centralized response for cyber related incidents as well as serve as a focal point for further building and implementing the National Culture of cyber security.“
Relatedly, Arnold Mangeni, the Director Information Security at NITA-U highlighted that Government has out in place the National Information Security Framework which provides for minimum security outcomes every Government agency and Critical Information Infrastructure operator is required to maintain. This includes incident response and crisis management largely focused on prevention and proactive approach. He further added that collaborations such as these are key for increasing cyber security capacity for both public and private sector entities and are critical for any effective protection response.