The Ministry of Post and Telecommunication, MINPOSTEL, has officially launched the national campaign to promote a culture of cybersecurity and raise awareness of the responsible use of the myriad social networks, thereby curbing the rate of cyber rimes in Cameroon.
Held under the theme, “All mobilised for cybersecurity in Cameroon”, from December 17 to 18 in Douala, the campaign that was officially launched by MINPOSTEL boss, Minette Libom Li Likeng aimed at mobilising all levels of the society to join hands in the fight against cybercrimes.
Also, the campaign geared towards awakening “the attention of Cameroonian citizens on the threats coming from global cyberspace and to get their support in the implementation of cybersecurity measures, draw the attention of decision-makers and officials of State structures as well as enterprises, with a view to raising awareness and implementing network security cybersecurity protocols. To raise awareness among all levels of society about the responsible use of social networks, which are increasingly being used for malicious purposes. To set up a NATIONAL COALITION for the promotion of the citizen use of social networks,” highlighted the Minister during the official handing of posters to the Governor of the Littoral region.
Staying the need for the creation of social networks such as WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube amongst others, Minette Libom Li Likeng said the latter play a crucial role in the daily life as well as on the society.
“Created for a noble purpose, which is that of conveying and sharing information in more or less real time, these networks also bring many abuses in our society. Social networks play an important role in daily life. Indeed, in the era of the digital economy, the role of social networks in the dissemination and circulation of information and images in the public space has become crucial. It’s a free and easy way to communicate with friends, family, anywhere in the world instantly. You can share thoughts, messages, photos, and other videos with a simple click. Today it is also a useful tool for daily work in Administrations, organisations and companies, as it allows direct contact with employees and customers. They are also an effective means of advertising,” she stated.
Likewise, they serve as tools to monitor and promote publication, measure the effectiveness of an article and detect trends or produce new content, as it is also a medium of learning and leisure needs for the younger generation. Aside the benefits of social network in an ever growing digital world, they has negative effects as it leads to addiction, seclusion of privacy, loss of ownership of data exchange, forgery, identity theft, harassment and cyberbullying and misinformation.
Following educational talks with primary, secondary and university students, followed by the handing over of posters to respective institutions in the economic capital of Cameroon, MINPOSTEL boss urged them to ensure the respect of civil and moral rules as they use the social network thereby fostering the fight against cybercrime. This it aimed at preventing all Cameroonians, adults, youths and children, and giving them appropriate advice, for an effective sensitisation and for all to mobilise to fight against what we call cybercrime.
“But just because you are on the internet does not mean that you no longer have to respect civic and moral rules, or even that you no longer have to respect others. Even if you can’t be seen when you are surfing, you should always show respect, courtesy and truthfulness. That is why you must not spread misleading information on the Internet. Don’t be those who follow without trying to understand, don’t be those who allow themselves to be led by their peers. This is what President Paul BIYA calls passive and naïve followers. This means that I should not tell false stories about my country on the Internet. Those who do this are the defenders of the Republic. It also means that I have to love my country, and that everything I do on the internet has to value my country. At the same time, I must be a good student to build the future of Cameroon.”
“According to our conception of development, man must be the product and the beneficiary. We must therefore provide comprehensive education for young people. The media are called upon to play a decisive role in this. More generally, the media has the responsibility to contribute to the achievement of national development while respecting their freedom. Cybernetic media, in this case social networks must be exploited with a view to strengthening national unity, consolidating peace, preserving territorial integrity, enhancing the image of Cameroon abroad and encouraging the adhesion and support of our compatriots for national causes,” she stressed.
Thus, due to the development of ICTs and the growing use of the Internet, the current context in Cameroon is marked by the rise of cybercrime: incitement to revolt against state institutions, erroneous information and images fabricated from scratch to disinform, shock, sow psychosis among the public and discredit the country, are circulated in a loop through social networks, hacking websites and Facebook accounts of high-profile personalities and institutions just to name a few.
This Campaign, it should be pointed out, constitutes a vast project in the preoccupations of the highest Cameroonian authorities, in terms of the development of our country and specifically, the expansion of the digital economy, with regard to the stability and resilience of communication networks and related services, a guarantee of public welfare and economic development.
Also, the last two decades have seen the exponential and progressive development of information and communication technologies and their integration into almost all aspects of lives. The Internet today is under siege as the volume, speed, variety and complexity of threats in cyberspace and connected infrastructures continue to increase globally.
It is however estimated that G20 economies have lost more than 2.5 million jobs to counterfeiting and piracy, and that governments and consumers lose just over $150 billion in a yearly basis in tax revenues. This implies that, cybercriminals have shown that they can exploit bits and bytes with precision to attack institutions and services.
In several countries, attacks against cyberspace have led to increased crime, radicalisation of youth, and financial losses. The scale and evolving nature of cyber threats, and the proven vulnerability of nations to them, are leading them to adopt new strategies. However, it is clear that the more connected a country is, the greater its vulnerability to cyber attacks, cyber crime and cyber dissidence.
It is therefore becoming necessary for each country to ensure the integrity and security of cyberspace as well as of the infrastructures or systems and the data that derive from them, emphasised Minette. Meanwhile, in Cameroon, the digital revolution, prescribed by President Paul Biya, has been adopted to boost the economy and use the potential of information and communication technologies to boost development through job creation, facilitation of access to information, development of trade, and improvement of education through online content.
“Over the past decade, our country has made great strides in establishing the necessary information and communication technology (ICT) infrastructure and increasing and widespread access to high-speed Internet. From less than 10% in 2007, Internet penetration in Cameroon reached 30% in 2020. Proof of the interest that the highest State authorities have never ceased to take in the development of the digital economy,” Minette processed.
Therefore, the activities launched in Douala constituted additional stages of the National campaign to promote the culture of cybersecurity and raise awareness on the responsible use of the social media earlier launched last August 12, 2020 in Yaounde.