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APPROACH TO CYBER SECURITY ISSUES IN NIGERIA: CHALLENGES AND SOLUTION
Sample Paper handled by
Adam C. Tagert
The purpose of this chapter is to introduce the aspect of the cybersecurity problem that this thesis is examining. This includes explaining and defining the problem and motivation for addressing it and the methodology used to address the problem.
The methodology of this thesis is an empirical study of differences using the countries of
Rwanda and Tunisia. This chapter specifies why these countries were selected for the study.
Defining the Problem
The concern of this thesis is those countries that are currently experiencing a transformation in ICT. Often these countries are also developing nations. These countries are adopting ICT and greatly increasing their use of ICT and the Internet. They have high hopes for the positive impact of their investment, but have yet to reap their reward. These countries are emerging ICT nations and their populations are emerging online.
The research in this thesis found that policy makers in these countries need better guidance on how to secure their cyberspace. They view the approach found in current guidance as not fitting their situation. There is a need for a better understanding of the cybersecurity challenges in those nations. The challenges faced need to be better articulated and the situation analyzed for ways to respond to the challenges and where further research is needed.
Motivation for Solving the Problem
The Internet is currently structured as a global and borderless computer network. The ability to communicate easily with any other device has enabled the Internet to have great benefits, but this also enables cybersecurity problems in one part of the globe to easily impact users somewhere else. As a result of this architecture, the cybersecurity situations in all countries are interrelated. For example of the positive benefits and negative consequences from the borderless architecture are illustrated by
e-mails and SPAM (unwanted e-mail). People are able to communicate easily as the
marginal cost of sending e-mail to any e-mail address is nearly zero. This low cost has also enabled cyber criminals, marketers and con artists to send unsolicited e-mails (SPAM) in bulk and at low cost.
One type of cyber-criminal behavior that has greatly expanded because of the
low cost of e-mail is the 419 scam. The details of this scam illustrate the global nature of
the Internet and the interdependencies of all countries’ cybersecurity. The scam is
based on the victim placing unwarranted confidence on the criminal by giving money, or often financial information, in the hope of receiving a greater payout. Nigeria has gained the reputation of being the source of many 419 scams to targets within other countries and particularly the United States. As a result, the cybersecurity situation in the United States is interrelated with Nigeria and other countries that are sending and
receiving 419 scam e-mails. SPAM and 419 scams are just two simple examples of how
a country cybersecurity situation is dependent on everyone else. Consequently, it is the global interest to have all countries working to reduce the amount of malicious traffic exiting their country.
ICT emerging nations are the target of this thesis for multiple reasons. There is a perception that these governments are not taking the issue of cybersecurity seriously, because few have created substantial programs to secure cyberspace. This is important because if the cybersecurity situation is poor they will emanate malicious traffic which will harm the global Internet. In addition, because these countries are at the early stages of ICT development, they have an opportunity to structure their ICT
infrastructure for cybersecurity in ways that were not done when other nations adopted the Internet. These pressing reasons create a need for better guidance for policy makers. The goal of this thesis is thus to provide research and analysis to help others provide better guidance.
The research approach in this thesis is an empirical study of differences. The study studies the cybersecurity situation in countries experiencing transformative Internet growth and in particularly studies the African Countries of Rwanda and Tunisia. These study closely examines the situation to gather clues to what is occurring and why. This enables the study to identify the challenges that current guidance is not meeting sufficiently. The study also enables an analysis and discussion on how to improve
guidance to be more useful for these policy makers. Finally, the study identifies open questions that were not obvious before the research.
Why Rwanda and Tunisia
The countries of Rwanda and Tunisia are good countries for this study. They are distinct from each other but share situational commonalities. The commonness of their situation was also recognized by the Rwandans and Tunisians as the Rwanda policy makers have obtained guidance, help and training from the Tunisian cybersecurity team. Some of the basic commonalities are that both countries are geographically small, though Rwanda is smaller, which enables them to share solutions that have scalability problems in larger countries. In terms of population, both are around ten million (CIA World Factbook 2010). These facts make Rwanda the most densely populated country
in Africa. The size also enables a study of the country to capture a fuller picture of the
situation and motivations. This was especially the case in Rwanda and Tunisia, where we had an incredibly generous amount of access.
Rwanda and Tunisia share commonalities in regards to cyberspace defense. One relevant resemblance is in government. Both Rwanda and Tunisia are countries with organized and active governments. These governments are actively working towards creating economic prosperity and jobs and they believe that ICT deployment is the way to achieve these goals. These countries are poor and need more well-paying jobs (Beaubien 2005) (Trabelsi 2010) (Yahia 2008). Rwanda’s plan is articulated in Vision
2020 (Republic of Rwanda n.d.) and Tunisia’s in e-Tunisia (Ouaili 2006). Both governments want to bridge the digital divide and build an information society. They want to be technical hubs for their regions and have ICT access for all their population. These governments have put action behind their vision. Rwanda has a universal access program (RURA 2008) to distribute computers to rural and poor areas and Tunisia has a family PC program (Ouaili 2006) for computer distribution. Both countries are also fostering their objective of ICT jobs by helping information based businesses via Rwanda’s Kigali ICT Park (UNIDO n.d.) and Tunisia’s Tunis Telecom City (BI-ME staff
2009). The end result is that these governments are integrating ICT with the hope of transforming their countries into a prosperous information society. The governments in both countries want their ICT investment to be secure from cyber threats and are willing to take appropriate actions.
Coordinating appropriate actions in both countries is similar as the number of companies providing ICT services is nearly equal in both countries. Both Tunisia (BuddeComm 2010) and Rwanda have three cellular providers with the latest operator being licensed in 2009 (BuddeComm 2010). These countries also have similar numbers of ISPs; Tunisia has 11 (BuddeComm 2010) while Rwanda has a similar number (RURA
2009). This means in terms of coordinating a cybersecurity solution with the Internet operators that both countries have about the same number of partners and equivalent scalability challenges.
Different stages of ICT maturity
The two countries are not identical in terms of quantity and maturity ICT even though they have similar long range objectives. Tunisia has a more established ICT
infrastructure than Rwanda. For example, Tunisia (Flobal Arab Network 2010) began building its national fiber backbone a decade before Rwanda (Kezio-Musoke, Rwanda’s national backbone fiber optic cable set for 2009 2008). Internet access is also much more prevalent in Tunisia than Rwanda (Internet World Stats 2010). Tunisia has about a third of its population online while in Rwanda, the penetration is at less than three percent. The greater Internet penetration is partly attributed to geography. Tunisia has access to the sea and is close to Europe, which has enabled Tunisia to use relatively cheap submarine cables for International connections instead of the expensive satellite links that Rwanda had been using. This reduced cost of international connectivity has led to cheaper Internet access charges and being more affordable to more. As a result
of its Internet adoption, Tunisia has been facing Internet threats longer and in greater
numbers than Rwanda and therefore has encouraged Tunisians to respond earlier to cybersecurity issues than Rwandans. Tunisia’s government thus has a more mature cyber defense operation than Rwanda’s, highlighted by Tunisia’s young but capable national CERT, tunCERT. This organization is tasked with Tunisia’s national cyber defense. The topic of what tunCERT does and what national CERTs do is covered in the third chapter. Another important ICT technology is the cell phone, which are also more prevalent in Tunisia. Tunisia has 80% cell phone penetration (CIA World Factbook 2010) compared to Rwanda’s 10% (CIA World Factbook 2010).
Differences of Rwanda and Tunisia
Rwanda and Tunisia have important differences which can enable the study to show that cybersecurity challenges identified are not unique to a particular country. Instead, the identified challenges are relevant for a breath of countries. In terms of money, Rwanda and Tunisia have GDP per capita that is below the world average, but Rwanda is an order of magnitude less. Tunisia is at $8,000 per capita (CIA World Factbook 2010) while Rwanda is at about $900 (CIA World Factbook 2010). The increase of GDP also contributes to Tunisia’s greater Internet and cell phone adoption.
These countries also differ in culture even if both are in Africa. A few ways the cultures are different is first, Tunisia is a North African Arab country while Rwanda is a sub-Sahara country. The second is in religion. Tunisia’s official religion is Islam (U.S. State Department n.d.) while Rwanda is predominantly Christian, though it is not recognized by their constitution (U.S. Department of State 2007). These countries also differ in employment. Most Rwandans are subsistence farmers, while Tunisians have diverse employment opportunities. The differences and similarities of these countries make Rwanda and Tunisia good choices to study.
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