The Secretariat of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) on 10-13 September 2018 convened Capacity Building Workshop on Cyber Security and SADC Regional Cyber Drill in Ebene, Republic of Mauritius to enhance the cyber-threat preparedness of SADC Member States.
In his keynote address, the Minister of Technology, Communications and Innovation (MTCI) of Mauritius, Honourable Yogida Sawymynaden noted that the cyber-threat landscape in the SADC region has changed drastically with the high Internet penetration and increased usage of smart phones amongst youth.
Honourable Sawymynaden said the high adoption of social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, YouTube, Instagram, coupled with the ease of downloading and viewing contents online have contributed in making the cyber space more vulnerable to attacks.
The Minister said the number and impact of cyber incidents continue to grow and their consequences are too costly. The Minister underscored the need to fight against cybercriminals by taking pro-active measures and called for closer cooperation to detect and act upon vulnerabilities, backdoors and incidents that result from cyber-attacks.
A representative from Republic of Namibia, the current Chair of SADC, Mrs. Linda Aipinge, said the workshop is one of the activities for the SADC Expert Group on Public Key Infrastructure (KPIs) and Client Information and Registration Tracking Systems (CIRTs) meant to assist Member States to accelerate the establishment of the PKI and CIRT. Mrs. Aipinge encouraged Member States to make optimal use of the opportunity availed by the Government of Mauritius and intensify awareness on the importance of cyber security at household and organizational levels.
Speaking on behalf of the Director of Infrastructure, Dr. George Ah-Thew, the Acting Senior Programme Officer for ICT stated that the first SADC Cyber Drill serves as a platform for cooperation, information sharing, and discussions on current cyber security challenges, incident response capabilities and communications, as well as a hands-on exercise for national CIRTs.
Dr. Ah-Thew added that cyber security is required in both the Public and Private sectors, noting that the financial sector, including the central banks, should participate in SADC Cyber Security initiatives as they have a vested interest in cyber security.
The workshop was attended by delegates from fourteen (14) SADC Member States namely; Angola, Botswana, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Kingdom of Eswatini, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe.