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Navigating the Cybersecurity Landscape in Cameroon

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Navigating the Cybersecurity Landscape in Cameroon

Navigating the Cybersecurity Landscape in Cameroon

As the world becomes increasingly reliant on digital technologies for communication, commerce, and critical infrastructure, the need for robust cybersecurity measures has never been more critical. This holds especially true for nations like Cameroon, where the rapid integration of technology into various sectors has brought forth both opportunities and challenges in equal measure.

In the heart of Central Africa, Cameroon is navigating a digital revolution, witnessing a surge in technological adoption across businesses and individuals. The digital transformation is palpable from the bustling urban centers to the rural landscapes. However, this progress is accompanied by the heightened risk of cyber threats that can undermine the foundations of a secure and stable digital environment.

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Our latest article takes you into Cameroon’s cybersecurity landscape, exploring the challenges faced and the proactive measures taken to fortify the nation's digital defenses.

Current State of Cybersecurity in Cameroon

More than 13 million Cameroonians have access to the Internet and take part in one form of online activity. Statistics from ANTIC, Cameroon's national agency for information and communication, show that 47.6% of Cameroonians engage in digital payments, 42.4% own mobile money accounts, 15.8% use online banking, and 11.2% make online purchases using credit/debit cards.

These are all prime targets of cyber threats that cybercriminals have exploited and continue to exploit. The current cybersecurity threat landscape in Cameroon primarily consists of identity theft, mobile money and cryptocurrency scams, fake news dissemination, child pornography, hate speech, Business Email Compromise (BEC), SIM card swapping, and DOS/DDOS attacks, among others. 

Together with ANTIC, the government has put in place a robust framework that imposes penalties on defaulters, with imprisonment of up to 10 years and fines that go as high as FCFA 10 million. ANTIC also provides a toll-free number (8202) for reporting cases of cybercrime. 

ANTIC operates a dedicated unit called the Computer Incident Response Team (CIRT), primarily tasked with ensuring cybersecurity across digital infrastructure. The team is committed to upholding the integrity of the digital landscape.

Collaborating closely with the State Secretariat for National Gendarmerie (SED) and the General Delegation for National Security (GDNS), ANCTIC engages in a comprehensive approach that encompasses both preventive and responsive functions. Cases are referred to the judiciary, and specialized judicial police officers, well-versed in cybersecurity, spearhead investigations under the collaborative efforts of these government bodies.

Economic and Societal Implications

In Cameroon, the pervasive threat of cybercrime has left an indelible mark on the nation's economy, with staggering financial losses incurred across various illicit activities. Here's a closer look at the economic impact of cybercrime, quantified by compelling statistics:

1. Scamming and Phishing: Since 2011, scamming and phishing activities have wrought a substantial economic toll, resulting in approximately FCFA 4.7 billion in financial losses.

2. Skimming: Over the years, the insidious practice of skimming has contributed to substantial financial losses worth FCFA 3.7 billion, highlighting the need for heightened vigilance against this form of cybercrime.

3. Identity Usurpation on Facebook: The misuse of Facebook profiles, particularly those of prominent individuals, has surged, resulting in a worrisome 4,226 reported cases since 2019.

4. Intrusions into Information Systems: Cyber intrusions into the information systems of private organizations have led to significant financial setbacks of about FCFA 5 billion.

5. SIMBOX Fraud: SIMBOX fraud, a persistent threat since 2010, has accounted for a staggering economic loss worth FCFA 7 billion.

The Road Ahead

As we reflect on the current state of cybersecurity in Cameroon, it becomes evident that the nation is navigating a complex and dynamic digital terrain. The strides made in establishing a robust cybersecurity infrastructure, coupled with proactive measures and collaborations, underscore the commitment to safeguarding the nation's digital assets.

Whether you wield expertise in cybersecurity, harbor a passion for legal tech, own a business, or simply prioritize online safety, the shared insights and figures presented here should empower you to take action.


Emmanuel Ngwa