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Africa unite under African Cybersmart Network to fight cybercrime

As cybercrime continues to rise across Africa, cyber-security awareness campaigners have joined hands to help Africans stay safe online through an aggressive public education drive under the African Cybersmart Network.

African Cybersmart Network was launched this week at the Digital Rights & Inclusion Forum in Nairobi, Kenya.

The Africa Cybersmart Network is a coalition of organisations across Africa that seek to promote cybersecurity and fight cybercrime through raising awareness and training.

David Moepeng, lead coordinator of the African Cybersmart Network, says the network was formed on the back of increased adoption of digital transformation across Africa, and as result internet users on the continent are becoming exposed to various forms of cyber-attacks, particularly cybercrime.

INTERPOL recently sounded warning bells on the rising levels of cybercrime experienced on the continent. In its ‘African Cyberthreat Assessment Report 2023’ report, INTERPOL says some of the prominent cyber threats identified include business email compromise, phishing, ransomware attacks, banking trojans and stealers, online scams, and cyber extortion.

This, combined with risky online behaviours and practices, has exacerbated the problem, says Moepeng.

“These behaviours include: oversharing of private and personal information on social media platforms; responding to phishing messages and other forms of online scams; use of weak passwords; risky web browsing, which usually happens when people visit unsecured websites or click on links from strangers, and often leads to malware attacks and hacking,” Moepeng says.

According to Moepeng, the African Cybersmart Network was launched to facilitate capacity building and collaboration between cybersecurity awareness promoters from the continent.

East Africa coordinator of the African Cybersmart Network, Jackline Njagi Lidubwi says the commonality of cyber threats across African borders requires similar techniques, hence the decision to unite Africa to counter cyber-attacks as one.

She says membership to the network is open to non-profit organisations in Africa, which are running programmes and campaigns to educate societies about cyber threats.

Lidubwi highlighted that member organisations will benefit from regular training programmes, which will ensure that their own public education programmes stay up to date with ever-evolving cyber threats.

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