Zimbabwe is really vulnerable to cyber threats, hence, the government should speed up the implementation of Computer Crime and Cyber Security Bill. In recent news the Government has partnered the private sector in activating the cyber security policy, which is meant to protect the country from cyber attacks and crimes.

It is believed that the need for such protection is urgent since more than 90 percent of the software used in Zimbabwe is pirated.

In an interview on the sidelines of a cyber security conference held in Harare recently, Zimbabwe Information Communication Technology (ZICT) vice president Engineer Tororiro Chaza said since the country also fed off the world-wide web, it was vulnerable to cyber attacks.

ZICT is a division of the Zimbabwe Institute of Engineers.

The two-day conference was organised by the Ministry of ICT and Cyber Security in partnership with Zimpapers and the Zimbabwe Institute of Engineers and is expected to come up with a strategy for cyber security.

A number of companies in Zimbabwe have been hit by malware (malicious software),” he said.

“Data has been stolen. We heard here how some medical companies lost data. This means this is a serious issue.

“It is not about one company protecting itself thinking they are safe because they have firewalls, they have anti viruses. No! No! It’s about protecting the whole country.”

The cyber security conference, he said, was designed to come up with a strategy on how best to respond to threats in the cyber space.

“This has to be at a national level where we monitor what kind of attacks is the country subjected to and what mechanisms do we have in place to respond to that because cyber crime is highly organised,” said Eng Chaza.

“It is an open field and one of the biggest problems that we have in Zimbabwe is that 90 percent of software in use is pirated and people want to protect these pirated softwares.”

Eng Chaza said the use of counterfeit anti viruses, which were pervasive locally, often compromised the security of users.

“So, our focus is with the national policy and a national strategy, coupled with awareness education on cyber crimes at all levels,” he said.

Cyber crime, he added, was in most cases difficult to counter.

“Government has a national policy on cyber security, it’s pretty sound, so what is needed is operationalisation of that document,” he said.

Mr Bernard Mapako from the University of Zimbabwe’s Computer Science department said no company or individual could say they were safe from system vulnerabilities, hence the need for concerted efforts to secure the cyber society.

Some of the discussions at the conference included online child abuses such as exposure to pornography vis-a-vis the need to keep children abreast with latest technologies.

There were also discussions on communication infrastructure, banking and financial services, cyber insurance for corporates and the need for research and development, as well as capacity building in cyber security.