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Internet securityThe Tanzania Global Learning Centre (TaGLA) has organised a three-day face to face workshop on cyber security and its effects on corporate businesses and government institutions in Arusha Region on April 16-19 this year.

This workshop is relevant due to increased cyber risks. The aim is to provide public awareness, understanding and experience on cyber attacks, which often target companies, organisations and government bodies, which are now technologically interconnected.

Corporate or government businesses can be at risk if there is no effective machinery to detect and check cyber attacks, which result in financial losses, intrusion of privacy and security. Participants will be able to acquire some hands-on experience on how to effectively carry out corporate cyber security, knowledge on internet policies and cyber security and key security skills to enhance their daily cyber crime controls, monitoring and prevention.

So, it is useful to computer security and technical support personnel, system administrators, network programmers, database administrators, network administrators, network engineers, IT managers, IT auditors and all IT stakeholders from private and public sectors as well as military and police personnel.

The workshop will be facilitated through a blended approach comprising lectures, group work and presentations. After successful completion of the workshop, participants will be assessed on the content and a certificate will be issued to each of them.

Cyber security is an amalgamation of technologies, processes and practices designed to protect networks, computers, programmes and data from attack, damage or unauthorised access. “The threat is advancing quicker than we can keep up with it. It changes faster than our idea of the risk.

It’s no longer possible to write a large white paper about the risk to a particular system. You would be rewriting the white paper constantly…,” says US security services provider Adam Vincent. Linked to cyber threats is an increase in Automated Teller Machine (ATM) skimming incidents, whereby criminals are stealing money from ATMs using fake debit/credit cards.

Some bank customers now prefer opening their accounts with mobile phone companies to keeping their money in banks for fear that it could be stolen at anytime. So, the misuse of ICT is threatening stakeholders whether at individual, corporate or government levels.

“Cyber security is extremely important in today’s world. Since new viruses are always created, computer and internet users must increase their cyber security literacy and skills,” says a Dar es Salaam-based computer technician, Thomas John.

He notes that without adequate up-to-date cyber security literacy, computer and internet users will be at great risk for they may find themselves being spied on and their information stolen unawares. According to the TaGLA Training and Information Services Manager Dickson Mwanyika, the workshop will enable participants to acquire practical knowledge on internet policies and key cyber security skills to enhance daily controls, monitoring and prevention of cyber crime.

He says senior researchers and cyber security experts will cover various topics on the subject matter. Kenyan trainers on fraud detection, investigation and prevention, Abdallah Komesha and Kitonyi Augustine, say since the effects of fraud including cyber attacks have far reaching consequences, organisations suffer financially and so managers should set clear guidelines and mechanisms of dealing with them.

Although ICT has facilitated communication, it can easily be manipulated to steal personal information, cause financial losses and psychological burdens to victims. You might have received e-mails from unknown sources and wondered how they got your e-mail address.

You might have also heard of people, whose personal communication has been invaded by other users to their advantage. This just shows you how important cyber security is. Computer users everywhere are vulnerable to spyware. This is a type of software that spies on what one does on one’s computer by transmitting personally identifiable information from one’s computer to some place without the user’s knowledge.

Spyware programmes collect personal information, such as internet surfing sites visited. The result is slow connection speed, loss of internet connection or functionality of other programmes or computer damage. Cyber attacks go against security policies.

The distributor of spyware usually presents a programme as a free useful tool or software agent. Users download and install the software without immediately suspecting that it causes harm to them. “Key loggers record what keys one presses on one’s keyboard and so we must be aware of this type of fraud,” says Komesha.

“Scammers can use one’s details to steal one’s online banking password or other personal information and use the information fraudulently. A key logger can be connected to one’s computer for fraud purposes without the knowledge of the user. So, it is good to familiarise oneself with how spyware is done to protect one’s personal information saved on the computer,” says Augustine.

Spyware may cause direct and indirect economic decline due to losses suffered by prominent corporations and firms and their clients. Through the use of computer and internet services, users can nowadays communicate faster, while in the past they relied on letter writing only, which was time consuming.

So, letter writing has dropped considerably thanks to ICT advancement, but there are side effects of ICT advancement, which we have to deal with to protect personal information from being accessed by unauthorised users. Tanzania is rapidly changing because of ICT advancement and people can now communicate and get things done faster.

This is a great leap in development, which needs to be maintained. People, who have access to internet services prefer sending e-mails to writing letters to family members, friends, business partners, companies, organisations or institutions. Besides computers, mobile phones have also e-mail and SMS facilities.

As a result, more and more people can access e-learning, e-government and e-commerce services and know what is happening. Thus, computer users must know about cyber security and protect personal information from theft, while remaining linked to other users. It requires detection and investigative skills to deal with cyber attacks, whenever they occur.

Detecting spyware is difficult and should be made an aspect of routine business in both the public and private sectors. Resources must be allocated specifically for the task. But all these risks can be minimised if more and more employees in the public and private sectors know how to protect personal, company, organisational or institutional information from being stolen, which can endanger people’s lives and national security

Credit: Daily News