Kenya, Uganda, and Rwanda bore the brunt of Africa’s 78 per cent rise in cyberattacks in 2022, an international conference for heads of intelligence agencies was told in Mombasa yesterday.
The rise in cybercrime has compounded the security challenges facing governments, National Intelligence Service Director-General Noordin Haji said.
“While the battlefields of the past were physical, the battlefields of our time are becoming increasingly virtual. Our reliance on digital infrastructure creates new vulnerabilities,” he said.
“In 2022 alone, Africa witnessed a 78 per cent increase in cyberattacks, with Kenya, Uganda, and Rwanda emerging as prime targets,” he added.
The Mashariki Cooperation Conference, which closes today, brought together intelligence chiefs from Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Somalia, Ethiopia, Burundi, Rwanda, Eritrea, Mozambique, Comoros, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Malawi, South Sudan, and Seychelles.
It was opened by Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua, who urged participants to “review the gaps and trends in security matters.”
“Digital spaces have become playgrounds for recruitment and radicalisation, money laundering and trap points for homicides and other cybercrimes,” said Mr Gachagua.
Interior Cabinet Secretary Kindiki Kithure said a multi-agency approach in battling organised crime and violent extremism had borne fruit in Kenya and invited other nations to emulate this method.
At the same time, Kenya’s parliament has approved the publication of regulations that will protect critical government infrastructure from cyberattacks.
The National Assembly Committee on Administration and National Security directed Interior Principal Secretary Raymond Omollo to gazette the Computer Misuse and Cyber Crimes Act of 2018 to make it operational.
The committee also approved the Computer Misuse and Cyber Crimes (Critical Information Infrastructure and Cybercrime Management) Regulations, 2024.
The new law provides for the designation of a system as a critical information infrastructure if a disruption of the system would result in the interruption of a life sustaining service, including the supply of water, health services and energy, an adverse effect of the economy of the country, an event that would result in massive casualties or fatalities, failure or substantial disruption of the money markets and adverse and severe effect of the security of the republic including intelligence and military services.
The regulations come in the wake of increased cases of attempted hacking of government installations, telecommunications firms and financial institutions.
The Ministry of Information, Communication and the Digital Economy said the attempts were unsuccessful.
The committee that is chaired by Narok West MP Gabriel Tongoyo had met with Dr Omollo to discuss the regulations, which seek to provide a framework for the protection of critical government infrastructure from cyberattacks. The regulations provide that every police station will have cyber security desks.