Supporting Africa’s Cybersecurity Expertise Makes the World Safer #Imaginations Hub

Supporting Africa’s Cybersecurity Expertise Makes the World Safer #Imaginations Hub
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Relying in your perspective, Africa is both a world asset or a legal responsibility within the info safety (infosec) world — or a little bit of each.

Many individuals unfairly painting African nations solely as malicious hackers and scammers. Nigeria bears probably the most accusations with frequent mentions of Nigerian prince scams. Whereas risk actors such because the Yahoo boys do function in Nigeria, the so-called 419 scams (named for the numerical part of Nigeria’s prison code) aren’t at all times African in origin. But this stereotype stays very a lot part of the cybersecurity lexicon.

It is simple to make Africa a cybercrime scapegoat via sustained myths, misconceptions, and simply plain ignorance of the continent’s wealthy historical past and tradition. Perpetuating unfavourable stereotypes makes everybody much less safe by not participating African expertise on the world’s info safety stage.

As an alternative, the worldwide info safety group wants to assist African nations defend towards the rising misinformation, disinformation, and malinformation campaigns from China and Russia that have already got taken root there.

Overseas risk actors are discovering methods to infiltrate African nations to assist create a malicious hacker military via presents or disinformation campaigns. For instance, an infosec skilled in Zimbabwe instructed me that the native consulate from a recognized state sponsor of cybercrime presents free lunch and laptop classes to locals.

It is crucial that the infosec group acknowledges the expertise in Africa that wishes to be taught and helps them change into defenders, not future risk actors.

Increasing Africa’s Cybersecurity Expertise

In 2018, I used to be invited to a convention in South Africa to current a workshop and a keynote speak about cybersecurity fundamentals to a gaggle of librarians and knowledge professionals. The attendees have been desperate to be taught and share information of cybersecurity finest practices. They know their international locations have information safety points, and so they have {many professional} communities working laborious to coach and upskill individuals for info safety jobs and a greater future.

Listed here are among the nongovernment organizations (NGOs) and nonprofit organizations which might be doing superb work in Africa, each in educating college students and practitioners and spreading safety consciousness of their communities.

  • Africa Cybersecurity Consortium: The ACC is certainly one of many teams in Rwanda coaching info safety professionals via internship placement applications and coaching.
  • Africahackon: This safety collective is constructing the subsequent technology of African cybersecurity expertise in Kenya and different international locations by internet hosting seize the flag competitions, offering hands-on coaching for digital forensics, and extra.
  • Cyber Safety Consultants Affiliation of Nigeria: Led by an govt council of cybersecurity leaders, CSEAN holds a well-attended annual convention, seminars, coaching, and workshops to lift the bar of expert infosec professionals in Nigeria.
  • Cybersafe Basis: Based mostly in Nigeria however serving a number of international locations in Africa, CyberSafe has a number of abilities coaching and consciousness applications. Its profitable CyberGirls program presents a free one-year fellowship for girls ages 18 to twenty-eight who obtain job coaching for cloud safety, governance, threat, and compliance (GRC), and different roles.
  • Safety BSides: This well-known US-based grassroots safety group is rising in Africa with teams in Algiers, Algeria; Cape City, South Africa; Kampala, Uganda; Lagos, Nigeria; Mombasa and Nairobi, Kenya; and the nation of Togo.
  • SheHacks Kenya: SheHacks KE was established in 2016 to offer Kenyan girls working in infosec a spot to attach and supply studying alternatives for women and college students.
  • SheSecures: This West Africa-based group offers group, profession constructing, and cyber literacy.
  • Wentors: Based mostly in Lagos however serving the globe, this group pairs girls in IT and knowledge safety with mentors who’re professionals of their area.

Shining Gentle Into Darkness

The phrases of the late geographer Dr. George H.T. Kimble nonetheless ring true at present: “The darkest factor about Africa has at all times been our ignorance of it.” We’re at a pivotal level: The worldwide info safety group can embrace and help our African counterparts, or it might let historical past repeat by watching the continent be consumed by digital colonialism and used as props by nation-state actors. Doing the latter will affect us all.

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