MACRA taking proactive steps in curbing cyber threats
Malawi Regulatory Authority (MACRA) has taken several proactive steps to help reduce cyber-attacks, which are on the rise as the country continues to digitalize.
Malawi: Malawi Regulatory Authority (MACRA) has taken several proactive steps to help reduce cyber-attacks, which are on the rise as the country continues to digitalize, writes Tiyanjane Mambucha.
In accordance with the Malawi 2063 enabler on Eco-infrastructure, which encourages reliable and affordable ICT infrastructure for access to E-commerce, E-learning, E-health, and E-governance, MACRA is conducting media training workshops on cyber security across the country to equip media personnel to help disseminate information on cyber security.
Daud Suleman, Director General of MACRA, stated that cybercrime is on the rise in the country, citing mobile money fraud as one of the most serious issues. Statistics show that Malawians lose K 120 million per month due to mobile money fraud.
"When you hear the number of cybercrimes that occur in the country, it is an alarming rate. If more people are defrauded using even 2G technology, adoption of advanced technology will be slower, and as a country, we will be left behind in the global economic space," he said.
The Director General urged spectrum users to follow the rules, particularly when it came to renewing licenses every year, saying that doing so helps the universal service fund function and bridges the digital divide.
Suleman stated that the country has a national resource known as spectrum, which MACRA uses to issue licenses and generate resources for the country.
According to the Malawi Police Service (MPS), the country's notable cyber threats incidents include mobile money fraud, fake news on social media platforms, web defacement, and the recent emergence of ransomware.
The MPS expressed concern about victims' failure to report cybercrime, claiming that this undermines all efforts to convict the perpetrators.
According to MPS Assistant Public Relations Officer Felix Misomali, the Police always have difficulties investigating matters that are not reported.
"It is concerning because many victims do not come forward to report cybercrime incidents, despite the fact that the Electronic Transaction and Cyber Security Act requires the MPS to handle such crimes, but most victims simply complain to their colleagues or on social media platforms," he said.
A participant at the training, Capital FM radio's John Namalenga, said the workshop helped him recognize some important roles played by other stakeholders on cyber security other than MACRA, and that his reporting would be based on an informed point of view.
The day-long workshop featured presentations on some of the steps MACRA is taking to help reduce cybercrime, such as the creation of some legal documents that fill existing gaps, such as a new ICT policy, the Data Protection Bill, and the development of E- transaction regulations.