The African Union Commission, in partnership with the Internet Society has unveiled a new set of Internet Infrastructure Security Guidelines for Africa that are set to change the way Union States approach cyber security.
The guidelines were unveiled at the African Internet Summit, taking place in Nairobi, Kenya and are the first of their kind in Africa. They were developed by a multi-stakeholder group of African and global internet infrastructure security experts.
They will also help member states, which includes South Africa, strengthen the security of their local internet infrastructure through actions at a regional, national, ISP/operator and organisational level.
“Africa has achieved major strides in developing its internet infrastructure in the past decade. However, the internet won’t provide the aspired benefits unless we can trust it. We have seen from recent experiences that Africa is not immune from cyber-attacks and other security threats. These guidelines, developed in collaboration with the African Union Commission, will help African countries put in place the necessary measures to increase the security of their internet infrastructure,” said Dawit Bekele, Africa Regional Bureau Director for the Internet Society.
“This is another timely milestone achievement given the new security challenges in cyberspace,” said Moctar Yeday, Head of Information Society Division, at the African Union. “The Commission of the African Union will continue its partnership with the Internet Society on a second set of guidelines addressing personal data protection in Africa.”
According to ITU ICT Facts and Figures 2016, it is estimated that 25.1% of Africans are now online and despite lower internet access rates vs. other regions in the world, there has been a sustained double-digit growth in internet penetration over the past 10 years. This is due in large part to an increase of mobile internet and in more affordable smart phones in the market and Africa’s young, technology-savvy population. However, to continue to improve access and connect the unconnected, people need to trust the internet.
As internet penetration grows and more business takes place online, implementing security measures against malware incidents to protect internet users becomes increasingly important.
Offering actions that are tailored to the African cyber security environment and solutions for an ever changing online landscape, the recommendations in the document launched today can play a key role in helping Africa respond to the kind of internet attacks that recently paralysed critical public and government services.