The dominant technology since the middle of the 20th century until today is computer technology. Now, if you want to be an advanced economy, you need to base on the dominant technology.
As African countries continue to jump onto the bandwagon of using computerized systems to run their economies and governance, cybersecurity is getting more and more important.
Cybersecurity is the protection of computer systems and networks from information disclosure, theft of or damage to their hardware, software, or electronic data, as well as from the disruption or misdirection of the services they provide.
According to the Information Systems Audit and Control Association (ISACA), an international professional association focused on IT governance, global cybercrime damages are expected to reach USD 6 trillion by the end of this year.
Africa has not been quite as affected by large-scale cyberattacks as other parts of the world, however, the continent is no stranger to the problem in general, as hacking incidents into bank accounts of individuals and institutions are not new here.
With continuous steps towards computer-driven economies that are characterized by the Internet of Things (IoT) and Artificial Intelligence (AI), Africa may soon become a bigger target for cybercrime.
Israel, a nation that is arguably leading the world in cybersecurity is a great example of how African countries should attach serious importance to cyber-safety if they will be able to successfully pursue and attain computer-driven economies and governance.
Among other things, the country established a National Cyber Directorate responsible for all aspects of cyber defense in the civilian sphere, from formulating policy and building technological power to operational defense in cyberspace.
It provides incident handling services and guidance for all civilian entities as well as all critical infrastructures in the Israeli economy, and works towards increasing the resilience of the civilian cyberspace.
According to Yigal Unna, the Director-General of the Directorate, they have in place a hotline for citizens to call and report any incident that may look like a cyber threat.
These are some of the things that showcase Israel’s great attention to cyber-safety, but that is not all.
The country also invests heavily in the sector, offering hundreds of millions of dollars to cyber-tech startups every year, in addition to providing robust education to the young generations in regard to cyber-tech.
In an interview with media, Isaac Ben-Israel, a professor at Tel Aviv University, who is one of the pioneers in the cyber industry highlighted the importance of computer technologies in driving economies, but noted that there is a “dark side” to it that the users should pay attention to.
“The dominant technology since the middle of the 20th century until today is computer technology. Now, if you want to be an advanced economy, you need to base on the dominant technology. However, you have to remember that once you progress economically, there is a dark side to it. A lot of problems arise, and cyber-attacks are one of them,” he said.
So there is need to invest in adequate protective mechanisms to all infrastructures that use computerized systems, keep building the capacity of the people that will have enough cyber knowledge to defend companies, countries, and so on, in addition to sensitizing the public to be careful and responsible while using computerized systems.
During the Cyber Week Conference that took place last week in Israel, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett talked about launching the “Global Cybernet,” a network for sharing information about cyber defense between countries.
The network currently comprises about 1,400 cyber professionals in Israel, including analysts, researchers and information security managers, from various organizations in the country who share information about attacks or their suspicions.