The Internet has revolutionised the way in which businesses, government and the public interact. However, criminal actors have used this to their advantage. Given reports that Africa is becoming a cybercrime safe harbour, this problem could hamper economic growth, foreign investment and security. African policymakers need a cogent response to cybercrime, which is informed by a clear understanding of emerging threats and how other countries have formed strategies in response. In the absence of a universal definition of cybercrime, the term is often confused with other types of malevolent cyber activity and it is difficult to quantify its financial impact worldwide. A recent study estimated the cost of malicious cyber activity to the global economy to be as high as US$1 trillion. Recent high-profile cyber attacks and emerging threats such as attacks on mobile technologies demonstrate that cybercrime is an urgent issue for policymakers. In devising a strategy to combat cybercrime, countries on the continent should adopt a multi-layered approach.
About the author
Eric Tamarkin is a research consultant at the ISS and previously served as a Senior Counsel for the United States Senate Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs Committee, where he specialised in cybersecurity policy.