The need and want for efficient, convenient, extensive and fast internet penetration is high in Kenya. All we want is do business and receive services through the internet in the fastest way possible. What we do not ask ourselves is how fast cyber crime could be moving with us and how easy we could be making it for internet terrorist.
Since we are blinded by our hunger for up to date internet penetration, we may not realize how fast cyber crime is moving with us. Kenya is experiencing a growing number of cyber crimes that threaten national security, critical infrastructure not to mention the privacy of innocent citizens. It is estimated as a country we are losing more than 2 billion shillings ($23.3 million) on an annual basis through cyber-crime.
Apart from governments, business operations have also suffered the cyber attacks. As a matter of fact, Cyber crime is one of the top four economic crimes in Kenya. This however, is not unique to Kenya only, the region and global fraternity is also suffering this same predicament.
The government is therefore looking at intense measures to cap cyber attacks with the most recent measure being deployment of digital identities among Kenyan citizens by digital identity, the government will require any individual accessing internet from whichever platform to register using their ID number or any other legal identity details they have.
This being a problem faced worldwide and more so in Africa which happens to be a young continent in the internet development, African countries and bodies have come together to look at different ways Cyber crime and attacks can be handled by coordinating different parties and policies. In the third Africa Domain Name System Forum, the internet authority bodies have convened in Nairobi, Kenya to have an extensive discussion on various issues affecting internet development in Africa.
Interconnection and cross-border connectivity
There are now many undersea cables passing along the African coast that bring the promise of competitive interconnection rates at the major global exchange points in Europe, Asia, and North America. However, it would appear that, for the most part, African Internet users are not yet enjoying the cost reductions that were expected from this abundance of international bandwidth. This may be partly due to limited interconnection arrangements at national and regional levels.
Innovation and economic opportunity
In the 30 years, since the first Internet domain was registered, in 1985, the Internet has grown into a trillion dollar industry and now boasts over 400 million registered domain names. The growth of the Internet has been enabled by faster, ubiquitous access, the exponential growth of technology, declining prices in the cost of electronics and devices, and exponential growth in the user base, all underpinned by an environment that fosters open innovation in developing applications, services, and devices. In Africa, Internet economy is on the rise and being a rapid development, there is need to govern the businesses.
Local content and multilingualism
Development of local content is an integral part of a country’s digital economy, ensuring that users are able to access content and information in a language and context that is suited to them. For most people, the most relevant content is local content. In offline life, we are more interested to know about the local whether or the local news, rather than the weather or the news at the other end of the world. Thus, for many people, the Internet becomes relevant only if it has local content. But how local is local and how effective is this local content?
Cyber threats can result in direct financial losses, indirect losses from stolen intellectual property, lost productivity, threats to national security when key infrastructure or services are breached, and diminished economic opportunities due to lack of consumer trust. Estimates place the negative economic impact of cyber crime globally at between 15 to 20% of the net value derived from the Internet; in monetary terms this translates into costs or losses of between USD 300 to 600 billion annually. Africa is not immune to cyber crime and cyber-threats and as more people get connected and start using the Internet, the problems will only increase.
Internet users could be the main reason why cyber crime is on the increment following ungoverned ways of internet access as well as careless ways of handling information. Different countries convened at this forum are fully determined to kill cybercrime to allow an impactful future of the internet in Africa.
Olaf Kolkmann Chief Internet Technology Officer (CTIO) differs with internet users’ blame on government laxity on internet security as well as dependent users who look up to internet bodies to sort cyber crime issues for them. “Collaborative security is the best approach towards tackling cyber security issues, People are what ultimately hold the Internet together. The Internet’s development has been based on voluntary cooperation and collaboration. Cooperation and collaboration remain the essential factors for its prosperity and potential.” said Mr. Kolkmann
Among other issues to be discussed at the Forum is digital migration, ICT skills and expertise and Human rights online and freedom of expression.