November 2, 2016 By Andrew Ngebuva (Intern)
The National Coordinator of Cyber Security, Dr. Hamza Bangura last Thursday (27th October 2016) disclosed to journalists at a press conference in the Ministry of Information and Communication that Cabinet has adopted a National Cyber Security Policy for Sierra Leone.
According to Dr. Hamza, cyber security would help to mitigate the menace created by social media in society, and that the issue of sending nude photos via Whatsapp and Facebook, would be curtailed.
“Cyber security is the body of technologies, processes and practices designed to protect networks, computers, programs and data from attack, damage or unauthorized access,” he explained.
“Today’s world is more interconnected than ever before- from towns to villages in the interior. Yet, for all its advantages, increased connectivity brings increased risk of theft, fraud, and abuse. Our plan is not to blackout any media, but to ensure that we apprehend people who commit cyber-crimes in Sierra Leone. As a democratic government, we believe in freedom of speech.”
Dr. Hamza said the country’s Cyberspace and its underlying infrastructure were vulnerable to a wide range of risk, stemming from both physical and cyber threats and hazards.
He said sophisticated cyber actors and nation-states exploit vulnerabilities to steal information and money and were developing capabilities to disrupt, destroy, or threaten the delivery of essential services.
“Through the effort of our dynamic minister, Mohamed Bangura, immediately he took up office, it was part of his 90 days plan to ensure that the cyber security policy in the ministry is validated and submitted to cabinet. And, thankfully, it was chaired by the president and the policy was adopted,” he said.
He also noted: “Our daily lives, economic vitality, and national security depend on a stable, safe, and resilient cyberspace. Strengthening the security and resilience of our cyberspace is important in sustaining our peace.
Dr. Hamza also noted that there would be national cyber incidence response teams (NCIRT), which would be established to monitor cyber security incidents on a regular basis.
Deputy Minister of Information and Communications, Cornelius Deveaux said they were working assiduously to put in place an internet exchange centre that would serve as a checkpoint for any data that goes in and out of the country.
“If you think you can sit in your room and fake your voice to send disparaging message on Facebook or WhatsApp, those days are coming to an end, and you will be tracked, identified, and prosecuted,” he said
He said they have sent the cyber security and data protection policy to the law Officers Department, so that it can be translated into law, as there were no clear-cut laws to punish those who commit cybercrimes in Sierra Leone.