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Civil servants receive cyber security training

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As the country intensifies its efforts to implement the Cybersecurity and Data Protection Act, civil servants will receive intensive internal training on how to best respond to threats in cyberspace.

This new law will take effect before the end of the year and is currently in the parliamentary committee stage.

This week, the country’s telecommunications regulator, the Zimbabwe Post and Telecommunications Authority (Potraz), will launch an awareness-raising campaign that involves educating government workers on cyber security and data protection.

The promulgation of the law coincided with the advent of the digital society, which aroused people’s concerns about human rights violations and the crude manipulation of communication tools.

Having noted the need to put up a training and awareness drive before the law comes into effect, the Ministry of Information Communication Technology, Postal and Courier Services has instructed Potraz has made it mandatory for all Government departments to be equipped.

Minister of Information Communication Technology, Postal and Courier Services Dr Jenfan Muswere said, already Potraz has been tasked to do a nationwide educational awareness programme.

“The Ministry, working with its stakeholders has designed a programme to train personnel in Government ministries, departments and agencies on ICT skills and cyber security awareness,” said Dr Muswere.

“This programme is expected to commence in the coming week. Working with the regulator, Potraz, we have embarked on a nationwide consumer education and awareness programmes.”

He said the Ministry will invite other players in the private sector to join in the partnership of educating the public on the merits of the new law.

“The Consumer Education awareness campaigns will continue to be rolled out throughout the country to raise awareness among the general populace and in the spirit of collaborative regulation. I call upon all stakeholders to join hands and partner Potraz in these popular programmes so as to disseminate cyber security awareness content to our citizens,” he said.

Dr Muswere said the enactment of the Cyber Security and Data Protection Act was a show of the Government’s promise to protect the citizens.

“These are important developments that reflect Zimbabwe’s commitment to create a safe environment for business and all of us.

“This comes at a more appropriate time, more so as cyber related threats continue to rise globally. In today’s digital age, ICTs and particularly the internet have become the common denominator for all socio-economic development sectors as they represent the foundation for prosperity, growth and security of our societies.”

This year, the importance of cyber security awareness became topical globally as the communities went under lockdown due to the Covid-19 virus.

The “work from home” concept was hard to embrace but one that brought light to the use of information, communication technologies.

Dr Muswere said, in advancing the new law, the country was preparing for an economic leap as espoused in the National Development Strategy 1, in as far as reaching the middle-income level.

“Zimbabwe, like the rest of the world is embracing its digital future through its SMART Zimbabwe 2030 initiative and the National Development Strategy 1 in its journey towards an upper middle-income economy by 2030 as enunciated by His Excellency, Cde ED Mnangagwa. The embracing of ICTs in the country is growing exponentially and transforming the lives of Zimbabweans.”

He said the Government knows well the value that ICTs have on protecting human rights and dignity, but will never be shy at using the law to protect the vulnerable in cyberspace.

“However, whilst there has been a lot of positives, citizens have been exposed to various online vulnerabilities especially during this Covid-19 pandemic which has led to an increase in the use of ICTs owing to the physical distancing restrictions.

“As such, cyber criminals have taken advantage of the situation to commit various cybercrimes like online fraud, identity theft, cyber stalking, cyberbullying, spreading of fake news, cyber grooming, sexting and revenge pornography among other delinquencies.”

Internet use in Zimbabwe, according to Potraz, has reached 57 percent. Most citizens were recorded to be using more of the internet to transact, communicate, and do online learning.

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