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Monday, Feb 17th

Rwanda beefs up cyber security training

securityEast African nation aims to fight digital fraud.

Rwanda has unveiled a training programme to increase public awareness of cyber security risks, in an attempt to counteract the loss of millions of dollars to cyber fraud in East Africa.

US firm TruShield Security Solutions has teamed with the Rwanda Development Board to develop the programme, aimed at educating IT professionals in maintaining cyber security and minimising the risks to institutions.

A Deloitte Survey last year suggested that banks in East Africa had lost $245 million in cyber fraud, while a 2010 survey conducted by Symantec Corp showed that small businesses lost $250 million due to various forms of cyber attacks - with 73% of small businesses reporting that they had been targets of cyber attacks in the previous year.

The training programme is designed to ensure that banks and companies are adequately equipped to defend their systems against cyber attacks. It forms part of a government initiative focused on cyber security awareness and education, including internet fraud, ATM scams, intellectual property theft, malware targeting mobile phones and the Zeus Trojan that targets financial information online. hacking, card skimming, electronic file manipulation and IT controls circumvention.

Paul Caiazzo, chief security architect at TruShield, and involved in the training, said the programme covered all relevant cyber security issues for private firms, as well as governments and individual users.

“Due to modern technologies, hackers are quickly learning how to reap legitimate applications and repackage them with malicious code before selling or offering them on various channels to the unsuspecting user,” he said.

He said that ICT staff at various organisations needed proper training in order to defend their systems against these hackers.

According to Sammy Kioko, alliance manager Africa for IT security firm Eacademy Group, fraudsters have managed to penetrate financial institutions in the region much more easily than they should have.

“Cyber crime is high in the EAC, especially Kenya, and is now moving to Uganda and Rwanda; we should get ready to mitigate such risks,” he said.

The call for proper training and for ICT officials to be on their guard against cyber attacks was echoed by Rwanda’s new Minister for Youth and Information Communication Technology (ICT), Jean Philbert Nsengimana, at the launch of the training programme.

He cited the potential of cyber attacks to harm national security, public safety and economic prosperity in the region.
“In today’s global trend of technologies, there is much increase of cyber attacks targeting government and private companies,” he said.

“You need to be vigilant and counter the threats before they visit the institutions. Don’t sit down in your offices and wait for the attack on your companies. Develop measures that can counteract them before their mission is hatched.”

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