Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Toure reiterates commitment to cyber security

Worried by the rate of cyber-crimes globally, the Secretary General of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), Dr. Hamadoun Toure, has reiterated his commitment to curb the menace.

Addressing a world press conference in Lagos at the end of his three-day working visit to Nigeria at the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs (NIIA) in Lagos, Dr. Toure, said that since he assumed office in January 2007, he unveiled a three-point agenda.

This, he said, include bridging the digital divide, cyber security and emergency numbers.

He explained, for instance, that as part of efforts to bring about a decline in the digital divide existing between the developed and developing countries of the world and between the rich and poor, ITU under his administration has launched Connect Africa initiative to propel growth especially in Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in the continent.

The Connect Africa Initiative, he noted was launched in Kigali by some head of states, to boost connectivity to rural communities.

According to him, when the populace have ICT access, the knowledge base of a society increases and information shared is better, stressing that about $55 billion was pledged at the launch of Connect Africa under the patronage of Rwandan President, Mr. Paul Kagame, and then Chairman, African Union and President of Ghana, Mr. John Kufuor, on 29 and 30 October, 2007.

He described the efforts at bridging the digital divide as ITU current greatest challenge among the three agenda, although in Africa the penetration is improving.

On the cyber security efforts by his office, Dr. Toure said there is a need to ensure “That our children needed to access the Internet without being molested with attacks online.”

Nowadays, due to growth of Internet, criminals need not be at the crime scene as crimes are magnified due to influx of ICT.

“So, we need to have all nations on board and the working plans would be harmonised,” he said.

Criminals, he said, are very smart these days, therefore any solution to counter cyber crimes must be smarter.

Dr. Toure accompanied by the Executive Vice Chairman (EVC), Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Dr. Ernest Ndukwe, revealed that recently, a nation’s network with about 95 per cent of its Infrastructure hooked on the Internet was hacked, forcing its shot down for 48 hours.

On the emergency numbers, Dr. Toure recalled that the Tsunami, which took place few years ago in Asia, has exposed how fragile ICT infrastructure has become.

“So, I would soon be unveiling a global working group for emergency numbering,” he said.

Dr Touré met with top government officials in the country to draw attention to the Connect Africa Initiative of the ITU including the Vice President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, Minister of Information and Communications, Chief John Odey and his Minister of State, Alhaji Ibrahim Dasuki Nakande as well as the board and management of the NCC in addition to a visit to the Digital Bridge Institute (DBI) in Abuja.

Dr. Toure’s visit was the first time the Secretary-General of ITU, the world telecommunications regulatory body, would officially visit Nigeria since the establishment of the United Nations agency in 1856.

He equally met with Chief Executive Officers of leading ICT companies at a dinner in his honour in Lagos, last weekend.

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