Speech on Official Launch of the 2017 Africa Cyber Security Report

Speech for John Sergon, EBS, Acting Chief Executive Officer, ICT Authority of Kenya during the official launch of the 2017 Africa Cyber Security Report at Hotel Intercontinental on Tuesday, April 10th 2018
Time: 9.30 a.m.

The chief Guest Hon Ambassador Raychel Omamo, Defense Cabinet Secretary
Serianu Chief Executive Officer, William Makatiani
Distinguished guests
Ladies and gentlemen
Good morning to you all and thank you for inviting me to the official launch of the 2017 Africa Cyber Security Report will shortly be done by the Cabinet Secretary, Defense, Rachel Omamo.
The Cyber Security Report is an important document for us at the ICT Authority because it lends great insight into the world of cybercrime, playing the role of a critical resource for us who are charged with implementing government policy.
As you may all be aware, the issue of cyber security has become central to government policy and especially over the years that our ICT environment has continued to evolve and develop. Indeed Kenya’s capability in Africa has grown so fast in the last decade that we are collectively now known as the IT hub of this continent.
The speed with which we are all adopting technology is mind boggling. Only last year, I saw the rate at which some Kenyans were already advancing the use of crypto currencies (Bitcoins).It is therefore encouraging to note that the government decided to set up a taskforce on the blockchain technology,which is the platform that Bitcoins operate on . This is an indicator that the government is working out mechanisms to understand the technology and then embrace it in a more structured environment.
One of the biggest issues governments face, around the world, is regulating technology. While desirable, the reality is that technology will always outpace regulation. And with this in mind, the onus is on the public sector and the regulators to establish collaborative partnerships with the private sector on matters technological innovation.
This is therefore to recognize players in the industry, like Serianu who have incorporated the public sector and regulators in the report launch. I also thank Serianu for facilitating this forum for us to discuss and cross fertilize ideas that will get us all to a more protected position against the cyber criminals. For example, organized cyber crime continue to cost Kenyan firms, including the Banking sector, billions of shillings in loses.
Clearly, we have a lot of work to do to bring everyone with us on the journey to cyber protection. The fact that Kenya has such talented people such as the team at Serianu and the way that they have established regional and global partnerships to cultivate a shared responsibility for cyber protection, is wonderful.
We in the public sector will pick these lessons as we endeavor collaborating with global cyber security players.
I am aware of the collaboration Kenya already has with International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and Forum of Incident Response and Security Teams (FIRST) among other industry players through KE-CIRT and this is an excellent start. Besides, through collaborations with like minded nations, South Korean government helped establish and successfully implemented a government Public Key Infrastructure (PKI). The PKI will enable Kenyans to conduct online transactions and businesses through the use of digital certificates hence surety of confidentiality and integrity. I therefore wish to welcome all of you to develop PKI ready applications so that we can leverage on this robust and secure framework. We can only build from here to bring on board more like -minded nations and organizations.
Ladies and gentlemen,
We have the Cybercrimes bill currently going through the motions in parliament. Today’s discussion is therefore pivotal to the public engagement that we require to ensure that even as our lawmakers delve into the merits of the bill, the discourse out here is structured to provide more depth to their knowledge.
While at the ICT Authority we have moved towards common standards and shared services to have a closer pulse on government networks because we are alive to the the threat of cybercrime poses to the country. We therefore welcome the proposals and recommendations like the ones outlined by the Serianu report. I also acknowledge the need for a wider dissemination of this report so that it is understood and investment in the critical anticipation, detection and remediation tools put in place.
For us at the ICT Authority to demonstrate the importance of these tools, we will utilize them and also urge others, especially the SME sector, to follow suit. One of the key initiatives we intend to put on our agenda this year is a detailed campaign to sensitize Kenyan public, including targeting the owners of the SMEs on the need to take care with their devices and networks.
As I draw to a close, I am convinced that with this information and a concerted effort by all stakeholders, Kenyans will have a better appreciation of their role in ensuring we are all more cyber secure.
At this point, I want to wish you all fruitful deliberations that I am sure will contribute immensely to the existing body of knowledge we have.
Thank you.