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Awareness still an issue as cybercrime threatens Cameroon’s growth

By , Freelance Investigative Journalist
Cameroon , 25 Jun 2021

Cybercrime is on the rise in Cameroon, according to the country’s National Agency for Information and Communication Technologies (ANTIC).

The organisation said nearly XAF 5-billion (about US$9.1-million) was lost in 2020 as a result of intrusions into the information systems of some private organisations. In 2019, the country lost approximately XAF 6-billion (circa US$10.9-million).

ANTIC’s Computer Incident Response Team (CIRT) disclosed that in 2020, it identified 4,242 fake Facebook accounts, of which 3,337 were successfully shut down in collaboration with Facebook. The agency received 47 complaints related to the hacking of Facebook accounts of moral and physical persons, as well as 37 other complaints related to Facebook account cloning.

The IT agency also identified credit card fraud, online scamming, SIM swap, Trojan, keylogger, DOS/DDoS, spam, web defacement, spyware, skimming, worms, social engineering, hacktivism, phishing, spread of fake news and SIMBOX fraud as the major cybercrimes in the last five years. Last year, ANTIC detected over 8,300 vulnerabilities on the websites of public administrations.

The agency said it has conducted more than 6,500 investigations.

Last year, Minister of Posts and Telecommunications Minette Libom Li Likeng launched a national campaign Let’s all mobilise for cybersecurity in Cameroon, to promote a culture of cybersecurity and raise awareness about the responsible use of social media.

The campaign is ongoing and its impact is yet to be determined, according to officials.

Director General of ANTIC Prof Ebot Ebot Enaw holds that the level of cybersecurity awareness is still low despite efforts by the government. “The borderless nature of the cyberspace makes it difficult for Cameroon to effectively fight against cybercrime since pre-established cooperation ties are always required in the tracking of cybercriminals across borders.”

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