The UK is to invest fresh £22 million to build cyber security resilience in developing countries and globally, its Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab, has said.
Raab who announced this new support in a statement through the British High Commision in Lagos said the new investment would be dedicated mostly in building cyber security resilience in developing countries and globally, particularly in Africa and the Indo-Pacific.
The UK Foreign Secretary was quoted as saying at the National Cyber Security Centre’s CYBERUK conference that the UK would spend about £3 million of the funding to help INTERPOL set up a new team to fight cybercrime in Africa.
The new INTERPOL desk, he said, would work across Nigeria, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya and Rwanda creating a regional strategy to support joint operations against cybercrime, and strengthen African states’ capability to combat the crime and those behind it.
Since 2018, Raab said the UK government has been actively partnering with Nigeria to support the development of cyber security policies and strategies.
Both countries, he said, share an ambition to create a safe and secure digital community that provides opportunities for Nigerian citizens and promotes peaceful engagement in cyberspace that enhances national prosperity.
He said the launch in February this year by President Muhammadu Buhari of the new Nigerian National Cyber Security Policy and Strategy (NCPS) 2021 followed well-targeted UK-funded technical assistance through the UK’s Digital Access Programme.
That programme, the top British government official said, has also funded a project to upskill Small Medium and Enterprises across Nigeria on cyber basics, delivered through the non-governmental organization (NGO) CyberSafe Foundation (https://cybersafefoundation.org/). Also, the UK Department of International Trade (UK DIT) has also hosted a virtual event for Nigerian stakeholders interested in cyber security for the financial services sector..
This event discussed emerging cyber security issues for the sector and showcased aspects of the UK’s approach.
Raab said UK funding support was part of its mbition to build global cyber resilience.
“We see Nigeria and Africa as a whole as an important partner in this. With some of the fastest growing economies in the world, Africa has become a target for opportune cybercriminals.
“By creating a central coordination desk within INTERPOL that law enforcement across Africa can use, the UK hopes to improve collaboration across borders to advance intelligence sharing, and ultimately stop the perpetrators of cybercrime in Nigeria and across Africa,” he said.
Speaking to the conference of security experts the Foreign Secretary said the UK wanted to act as a responsible cyber power as well as working with other countries to shape cyberspace in line with UK value.
Also, UK, he said, was making around £22million of new investment available to support capacity building in cyber security for developing countries and globally.
“We are working with like-minded partners, to make sure that the international order that governs cyber activity is fit for purpose.
“Our aim should be to create a cyberspace that is free, open, peaceful and secure, which benefits all countries and all people.
“We want to see international law respected in cyberspace, just like anywhere else. And we need to show how the rules apply to these changes in technology, the changes in threats, and the systemic attempts to render the internet a lawless space,”l
INTERPOL Secretary General Jürgen Stock said:
“With more than 4.5 billion people online, more than half of humanity is at risk of falling victim to cybercrime at any time, requiring a unified and strong response.
“The UK support for INTERPOL’s cyber initiative in Africa underlines its commitment to this fight and will be an important piece of the global security architecture to combat cybercrime,” Stock said.
Cybercrime is one of the most prolific forms of international crimes, with damages set to cost the global economy $10.5trillion annually by 2025.
With some of the fastest growing economies in the world, coupled with a reputation for weak network security, African countries are currently a big target for opportunistic cyber criminals.
In addition to cybercrimes, there is also a growing trend for higher impact online financial scams in Africa, with an INTERPOL survey revealing that in the two years between 2013 and 2015 criminals in Africa targeted businesses for an average of $2.7 million each time.
Despite the best efforts of law enforcement across the region, on average only 30 percent of those crimes could be prosecuted due to differing legal systems and legislation across borders.
The new INTERPOL team would lead efforts to change that menace facilitating cross-border collaboration to stop cybercriminals.
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