Keep cyber crime at bay through tight partnerships


Policies, laws, ethics, institutions, standards, and frameworks must effectively adapt to and address the evolving cyberspace environment. FILE PHOTO | NMG

It is without a doubt that we are already in the fourth industrial revolution, and key decisions will be driven by the new advent of data and technology. With this new realisation, the ethical use of data and technology has become topical in many jurisdictions with many governments stepping in to protect citizens’ data. Organisations have stepped up innovative measures to protect individual data as well as the integrity of their systems.

The world must appreciate how fast digital disruptions are happening. These disruptions may occur too fast for policymakers to understand their full impacts before creating a regulatory framework to lower unethical practices.

Global banking sector could lose $350 billion, according to the World Economic Forum (WEF) if the respective institutions do not invest in cybersecurity.

In addition to direct damages, which are projected to cost the global economy $6 trillion annually by 2021, according to Cybersecurity Ventures, cybercrime is a colossal barrier to digital trust.

According to WEF’s Global Risks Report 2020, cyberattacks are ranked as the second risk of greatest concern for business globally over the next 10 years.

This is so although data and technology continue to play a critical role in shaping the global risks landscape for individuals, governments, and businesses.

Additionally, through tools such as the Internet of Things (IoT) and Artificial Intelligence (AI), the world has become more interconnected than ever. This has ushered in enhanced cybersecurity.

In Kenya, the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) cyber intelligence team detected at least 37.1 million cases of cyber threats in the period between October and December 2019. This was a 47.3 percent increase from the previous quarter.

Cybercrime cannot be systemically curbed without confronting the source of cyber-criminal activity, reducing the payoff, and making the risk of prosecution real to offenders.

With government efforts alone proving insufficient, successful approaches require a convergence of transnational public-private efforts and resources.

To date, government cooperation with private-sector actors, both locally and globally, has been fragmented. Cybercriminals exploit these gaps to act with near impunity. We need to close them.

Jurisdiction is often murky for cybercrime investigations. Government agencies often do not have jurisdiction to investigate all the aspects of crimes committed online, whereas private companies with global operations regularly operate across national boundaries.

Moreover, cybercriminals abuse privately-owned infrastructures to carry out their crimes. Therefore, the private sector may provide significant assistance in countering criminal activities.

This year is likely to present a turning point, where new technologies scale and come online, exacerbating cyber-risk and affecting every business, government, and individual.

Policies, laws, ethics, institutions, standards, and frameworks must effectively adapt to and address the evolving cyberspace environment. The world cannot fully predict the impact of technological disruption.