Critical National Infrastructures Could be at Risk of Cybersecurity Attack

0
99
Bamba Mbye Cyber Security Consultant

By: Bamba Mbye, Cyber Security Consultant

 In recent years, Africa has seen significant growth in technology adoption and internet connectivity. This growth presents an increased risk of cyber criminality in the form of high-profile ransomware campaigns, vulnerability exploitation, Phishing attacks etc. Approximately 90% of African businesses are operating without cyber security protocols in place[1], making them vulnerable to cyber threats, such as hacking, phishing, and malware attacks.

The Gambia is not immune to these risks. The increasing cyber-attack on Government institutions and private enterprises indicate the emergence of a new wave of cyber threats, poised to intensify in the coming years. To counter this growing menace, both the government and private sectors must bolster their cyber resilience.

It is important to highlight that, in its endeavor to combat and prosecute cybercrime, the Gambian government has recently introduced a bill titled the Cyber Crime Bill 2024 to the Assembly Business Committee for consideration. However, experts widely acknowledge that The Gambia lacks the essential infrastructure, skillset and policies required to effectively combat cyber threats. These vulnerabilities leave individuals, businesses, and critical national infrastructures at risk of potential attacks. Threat actors are continuously refining their tactics, as evidenced by a staggering 91% surge in ransomware attacks reported by Tech Republic in March 2023, underscoring the urgent need for a comprehensive review of security strategies and the implementation of robust protective measures.

In 2017, The Gambia’s Central Bank experienced a data breach, purportedly resulting in the theft of a significant amount of sensitive data. It is also worth noting that it is highly probable that several financial institutions underwent similar incidents. Furthermore, the deficiencies in our cybersecurity readiness and expertise have rendered us vulnerable to cybercriminals. Imagine the dire situation where vital institutions such as the Gambia National Water & Electric (NAWEC), Gambia Telecommunication Company Limited (GAMTEL), or the Gambia Ports Authority is paralysed by a ransomware attack. Such a scenario would undoubtedly trigger a national crisis, causing significant disruptions to everyday activities. Hence, it is imperative for us to implement both technical and administrative controls to reduces our vulnerability to attacks.

Strategies to Mitigate the Impact of Cybersecurity Attacks on Your Organisation.

  • Provide Information Security Awareness Training – employees are often the weakest link in an organisation’s cyber security defences. Therefore, it is essential to provide regular training on cyber security best practices, such as how to recognise and avoid phishing scams, password hygiene, and social engineering attacks. This can help employees identify potential security threats and reduce the risk of a successful cyber-attack.

  • Implement Regular Cloud Backup – Regularly backing up data is critical in the event of a cyber-attack. In the event of a successful attack, a backup can help restore data and reduce the impact of the attack.

  • Implement Strong Security Measures – this includes using firewalls, polices, antivirus software and intrusion detection systems and Security Information and Event management (SIEM) solution.

  • Undertake regular penetration tests and vulnerability assessments to identify and address potential security weaknesses. The process will organisation to identify and remediate vulnerabilities before they are exploit by criminals.

Conclusion

In conclusion, cyber security will continue to be a top concern in the workplace due to the prominent role of technology in today’s work environment. Reducing the impact of cyber security attacks on Government Institutions and private sectors in Gambia requires a multifaceted approach. This entails implementing robust security measures, providing employee training, regularly backing up data, conducting security audits, and various other measures. By adopting these proactive steps, Government institutions and private sectors can fortify their defences against cyber threats and minimise the repercussions of successful attacks.

Bamba Mbye

Cyber Security Consultant

FSP Consulting Services Limited  

Leave a Reply