National Cyber Security Conference 2022 Synopsis.
The Communications Authority of Kenya celebrated its 3rd Annual national Cyber Security Conference themed: Securing Tomorrow: Collaboration for a Thriving Digital Nation
Dr. Vincent Ngundi, The Ag. Director Cybersecurity and Head of National KE-CIRT/CC, began by inviting the audience, participants and partners, he then shared an overview of the Global Cyber Security Landscape and the mitigation efforts that the Authority is undertaking.
He was referring from the recent Cyber Security Report of July – September 2022 .
The cart away on new and emerging technologies were:
- Mis/Dis/Mal – Information
- Children and the internet (Gaming)
- Phishing | DDOS | Vulnerable IOT
- Cloud Security
The chief guest, Director General & CEO of the Communications Authority of Kenya Mr. Ezra Chiloba in his keynote speech began by reflecting the importance of Cyber Security in the global community. He reported on the just concluded SIM card registration from a compliance perspective noting that Safaricom reported a 93% registration from 55% in January 2022 and Airtel reported a registration of 81.2% from 42% which was pretty impressive.
Mr. Chiloba highlighted the adoption of the National Cyber Security Strategy, which is a National framework bringing different stakeholders and the NC4 (key government agencies).
He mentioned the Digital Superhighway entrenched in the current government’s manifesto that is very key in ensuring that the public participates in the Digital Economy, the rapport is herein.
As a Family IT Consultant and the founder of Eveminet Communication Limited, it was very clear that Cyber Security ( Online Safety) is a people business and it is OUR business which means that our work on creating awareness and building capacity is cut out for us.
The Panel discussions were quite loaded and insightful. In summary here are some highlights and collaborative efforts and linkages towards Child Online Protection.
- Roles and Responsibilities of a cybersecurity team
A keynote address by @njugunakg the Information Technology Director at @SafaricomPLC. He revealed “There has been an increase in threats and vulnerabilities due to the expansion of the remote workforces,” having about 65 Million Subscribers on their network sharing different resources. More interestingly was the gaming statistics, disclosing that there are 3.4 Billion gamers globally and at least 43 million in Sub Saharan Africa. Looking at these statistics, I thought I’d put this into context by sharing the common games our children play.
- a) Roblox a very popular game (probably played by your child-ren) noted 1.7 Billion users as of October 2022.
- b) Minecraft players are at 970,777.
- c) Fortnite has more than 390 million registered players. It is interesting to note that Epic Games revealed that 3-4 million people played fortnite concurrently in January 2022. I wonder how many of these were children.
Here is a link to the 20 most popular video games right now, get interested in the ones your child is playing and seek to understand the threats.
It is worth noting that gaming is a whole movement and a popular place where attacks are coming through and this affirms the urgency of Child Online Protection engagements, which we are actively rolling out through different partner engagements.
2. Awareness and Capacity Building
The keynote address by Dr. Paula Musuva, a lecturer at @ExperienceUSIU and Cyber Shujaa Project Lead, on the 2nd-panel topic, Awareness and Capacity Building. #CACyberConference22
She presented us with a framework to help us understand the topic. She mentioned that “People understand their problems better” and that it is important to recognize that capacity building is more of enabling, equipping, and resourcing people so that they are able to solve their problems and challenges.
The simplified framework had the following pillars:
a) Awareness – which is the foundational element of imparting knowledge, learning, communicating lessons and training.
b) Skills – application, doing practice, problem solving etc.
c) Impact – Empowered expertise creating new insights, transformation, mentoring, coaching and bringing change.
Speaking about the theme of the conference, Dr. Paula mentioned their established collaboration with KICTANET on Cyber Hygiene providing content like comic strips for user awareness.
When it comes to raising digital natives, it has become desperately urgent to fill the gaps that we have seen such as skills and information. Evemient has developed a Digital Parenting Program dubbed Parents Unplugged where we have adopted the framework above that enables us to have a 360 interaction with those in the ecosystem of a child where parents and guardians fall under the Primary line of influence .
Our partnership with Communication Authority of Kenya, Meta, Google, TikTok, Kenya Films Classification Board among others to increase the efforts on creating awareness and building capacity on parenting, child online safety and digital literacy has given us credibility.
One of my key cart aways from this session was our need to keep building our capacities so that we are well equipped to guide our children/families to ensure technology works for them.
3. Cyber Incident Response planning and management.
A Keynote address by Mr. Fidelis Muia, the Director of Technical Services from @KenyaBankers. He took us through the process of incident reporting and the importance of planning and managing.
Recommendations on Managing Incidents.
- Record threats intelligence and methods
- Create a problem resolution support
- Create a knowledge database.
- Develop a process of improvement (culture).
My take away and link to child online safety is the significance of paying very keen attention to trends and statistics.
It is important to acknowledge that we have reporting incidents channels which both parents/guardians and children ought to know and utilise.This shows the effectiveness of the awareness and capacity building efforts.. These are the different channels of reporting:
a) The Authority has a number of channels: https://ke-cirt.go.ke/child-related-cyber-incident-reporting-form/
Hotlines: +254 703 042 700 | +245 730 172 700
The KE- Cirt App
b) Child Help Line – 116 (toll free)
Notably, Evemimet offers a hybrid Online Safety Program dubbed Whiz Kids Africa where we educate and equip children with skills and tools to be safe while exploring and collaborating online.
Some of the major topics we handle are:
- Digital Citizenship
- Digital well-being
- Digital Footprint
- Mental health & resilience and well-being
- Digital Drama ( hate speech,bullying)
4. Multi-sectoral Collaboration in Enhancing Cyber Resilience
The Keynote address by Ag. Director Cybersecurity and Head of National KE-CIRT/CC, DR. Vincent Ngundi, he noted that human beings are the weakest links when it comes to cyber security with an increase of incidents like phishing, DDoS and cloud security which has a high reliance on third party applications through service providers & IOTs.
He noted that we didn’t talk about children and in this panel he included Lilian Kariuki of Watoto Watch and myself to bring the aspect of child safety.
Children are playing online games and this helps them to socialise and build relationships albeit online, it increases their visibility. Gaming allows children to engage with STEAM.
In firming up this capacity, the authority has resources on COP available to the public.
I was privileged to sit on this panel because I got to share what we are seeing as we interact and engage children, the dangers and challenges they face like the rise of cyberbullying, identity theft, rise in mental health challenges, self harm, screen dependencies, access to age unhealthy and age inappropriate content among others.
I also shares emerging technological trends that we have seen from our interactions as well:
- Gender Identities
- Crypto – Currency
- Video On Demand
- VR, AI and AR
I got to talk about our work and the fact that we cannot delegate the responsibility of imparting values to our children. The conversation was amazing. Find the link here & here.
The conference ended on a very high note. It was particularly interesting to see the evolution of coaching and information access provided by industry experts and the sponsor, Huawei.
The campus students were some of the biggest beneficiaries which challenged us to consider scaling down our efforts on capacity building to Basic Education. The award ceremony saw the learners win a variety of awards like gadgets from Huawei, to cash prizes and even membership and mentorship by KCFSA – Kenya Cyber Security Forensics Association.
In conclusion, I urged the audience and participants to get Interested in what children are interested in, not forgetting there are more data enabled devices in your home than there are TOILETS.
Online Safety is OUR business, let us all do our part. I look forward to seeing the implementation of the deliberations and collaborations that came from the conference.
My goal as a Family IT Consultant, specialising on child online protection is to help parents, guardians, educators and industry to make technology work for them (families).
Family IT Consultant & Digital Learning Leader.
Founder – Eveminet Communication Limited.