The Sunday Mail
As Zimbabwe continues to embrace digital technologies in an effort to modernise its economy and increase its global competitiveness, the country is increasingly facing the threat of cybercrime.
In recent years, we have seen a growing number of cyber-attacks targeting businesses, Government entities and individuals in Zimbabwe, highlighting the urgent need for effective data protection measures to safeguard sensitive information.
Cybercrimes in Zimbabwe range from phishing attacks, identity theft, hacking and data breaches.
The country’s digital transformation has created new opportunities for criminals to exploit.
Unfortunately, many businesses and individuals in Zimbabwe have fallen victim to various cyber-attacks, resulting in significant financial losses and breaches of privacy.
These cybercrimes not only harm the targeted organisations but also tarnish the reputation of Zimbabwe as a reliable and secure digital environment.
In response to this growing threat, the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (Potraz) was established as a regulatory authority to oversee the telecommunications and postal sectors in Zimbabwe.
With the digital economy expanding in Zimbabwe, Potraz’s role has become even more critical as cyber threats continue to emerge.
One of the key challenges in Zimbabwe is the lack of awareness surrounding cyber threats and data protection.
Many businesses and individuals remain inadequately protected, leaving them vulnerable to attacks, such as phishing scams, identity theft, ransomware and DDoS attacks.
As a result, there is a need for increased education and awareness programmes to ensure Zimbabweans understand the risks and how to protect themselves.
Potraz has taken on the responsibility to educate Zimbabweans on these issues, providing valuable resources and guidance to businesses, other organisations and individuals alike.
The regulator has launched several awareness campaigns, training programmes and workshops to help people understand how to identify potential threats and implement effective data protection measures, providing them with greater protection against cyber-attacks.
Another challenge is how to hold cybercriminals accountable for their actions.
Often, attackers operate across borders, making it challenging to track them down.
With the rapid changes in technology, attackers continue to exploit new vulnerabilities and methods, making it difficult to keep up.
Moving forward, Zimbabwe needs to have a comprehensive data protection and cybersecurity framework that is aligned with international standards.
To this end, Potraz has been working closely with international organisations and other governments to enhance Zimbabwe’s capacity to address cyber threats.
As part of these efforts, Zimbabwe has signed several cybersecurity agreements with countries such as China, India and Russia, which provide cooperation mechanisms for sharing information on cybersecurity threats and assist in training and capacity-building in the field of data protection.
Apart from these international collaborations, Potraz has also developed a robust regulatory framework that sets out the rules and standards for Zimbabwe’s telecommunications industry.
The regulator’s Cybersecurity Framework outlines the minimum standards for cybersecurity practices, proactive measures to ensure data protection and the reporting mechanisms for cyber incidents.
Data protection is crucial in the fight against cybercrimes.
It encompasses measures and practices that safeguard data from unauthorised access, disclosure, alteration or destruction.
In an era where data has become a valuable asset, it is imperative to protect it from theft or misuse.
Data breaches not only result in financial losses but can also lead to identity theft, reputational damage and legal consequences.
Therefore, organisations and individuals in Zimbabwe must prioritise data protection to maintain trust and secure their digital assets.
Overall, Potraz’s efforts are critical in ensuring Zimbabwe’s digital domain remains secure and protected.
However, there is no doubt that cybersecurity threats will continue to evolve and become more sophisticated, making it important for the regulator to remain vigilant and up-to-date with the latest advancements.
By providing Zimbabweans with the knowledge and resources to protect their data and systems, as well as working to establish international partnerships to tackle cybercrime, Potraz can play a crucial role in safeguarding Zimbabwe’s digital future.
We need to work towards achieving a safe and secure online environment, as this is critical for the country’s socio-economic development.
Davison Matsvimbo is a certified data protection officer.