By Chusa Sichone
VISITING International Telecommunications Union (ITU) deputy secretary-general Houlin Zhao has launched the first-ever cyber security laboratory in Zambia, which will enable law-enforcement agencies to combat Information Communication Technology (ICT)-related crimes.
The laboratory is based at the Zambia Police Service headquarters in Lusaka, whose refurbishment and procurement of equipment was done by the Zambia Information and Communication Technology Authority (ZICTA) at a cost of K700,000.
Mr Zhao said that cyber crime was a fast-growing phenomenon as more and more criminals were exploiting connectivity, convenience and anonymity of the Internet to commit various crimes that had no borders.
"Due to the increased expertise and number of attackers, this laboratory will surely have a key role to play in supporting the Government in addressing cyber security-related issues at the national and regional levels as well as the global level," he said.
Mr Zhao was confident that the laboratory, coupled with the ongoing good international coordination and collaboration, would help build confidence among security wings in the use of ICTs for all.
He said Zambia was a very active ITU member and the launch of the laboratory was a continuation of the partnership and that the
ITU-IMPACT in partnership with ZICTA was organising the first Cyber Drill in Africa.
The Cyber Drill to be held in Lusaka from September 29 to October 1, 2014 is a high-level training workshop on computer incidents handling
for African Computer Incidence Response Teams (CIRTs) professionals.
He also paid tribute to First Lady Dr Christine Kaseba whom he said was a valuable ITU e-Health Ambassador.
Transport, Communications, Works and Supply Deputy Minister Mwimba Malama said the Government intended to replicate the laboratory initiative to other parts of the country to operate as regional laboratories within the Zambia Police.
Mr Malama said the Government was happy at the collaboration between ZICTA and the Zambia Police and that Zambia was among the first African countries to set up a CIRT, whose role was to manage cyber security incidents and raise awareness about potential incidents.
Inspector General Police Stella Libongani said the laboratory was the US's brainchild in the aftermath of the September 11 terrorist attacks, which was created to lead national efforts to investigate high-tech crimes, acts bordering on terrorism, espionage, computer intrusion and cyber fraud.
ZICTA Board chairperson Emmanuel Musonda said the Laboratory was a demonstration of the Authority's commitment to meeting its regulatory
obligation and thanked the Zambia Police for supporting ZICTA in enhancing cyber security in the country.