The bleak assessment of Africa’s digital sector comes amid worldwide concerns of internet-based political manipulation
Rabat – Africa is the lowest ranked continent on cybersecurity, internet-based attacks, experts and digital security practitioners have said.
According to some experts, the shortage, lack, or dilapidated conditions of high tech infrastructure, as well as the lack of well thought-out government policies for cybersecurity make Africa both the most exposed continent to cyber threats, and yet the least equipped to deal with the high and growing rate of cyber threats.
Speaking on Thursday, September 3, at the 4th Africa Cybersecurity conference in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, James Claude, CEO of Global Voice Group, lamented the lack of a sophisticated digital network to counter the growing number of threats registered in Africa over the past months and years.
“Africa is the most exposed continent,” Claude told AFP on the sidelines of the Abidjan meeting. He went ton to provide figures highlighting the concerning state of cybersecurity on the continent. “The vulnerability of digital infrastructure is of 83%, leaving the doors wide open to cyber attacks.”
Claude also asserted that mastering the digital revolution has become an integral part of economic development and prosperity for countries.
The suggestion, he detailed, is that Africa’s high vulnerability and lack of investment in the high tech sector will not only provide easy prey to hackers—individuals or institutions—worldwide, but would also negatively impact the continent’s development aspirations.
“Africa must take cybersecurity seriously and invest a lot in the field, if it wants to take part in the fourth industrial revolution. Cybersecurity is vital for the 400 million people using mobile phones in the continent,” he said.
“It is a very important phenomenon,” he added, speaking of the proliferation of cyber attacks worldwide and the concerns regarding Africa’s easily exploitable vulnerability. “It is a threat that can hold back the development of digital economy in Africa.”
The bleak assessment of Africa’s digital sector comes amid worldwide concerns of internet-based political manipulation.
In May, Facebook banned an Israeli PR company for engaging in “illegal,” “inauthentic behavior” while attempting to influence elections and public discourse in many countries in Africa and Asia.
At the time, Facebook engineers warned against the exploitation of users’ personal data for political gains, as well as online Fake news campaigns to either tarnish or help the reputation of politicians.