Cybercrime: A complex problem requiring a multi-faceted response


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.

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