A cyber force introduced to counter security threats

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    (Photo: Anteneh Aklilu)

    The Defense Force of Ethiopia has established a new force to counter security threats on virtual systems.

    The Defense Force that has different divisions has now established a cyber-force to keep the country from virtual attacks.

    At the meeting held on Monday October 26 at the Office of the Prime Minister to evaluate the liberalization and privatization process of the telecom sector, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said that the Defense Force has established a new wing to counter the security threats that the country may face.

    On the discussion held on the day, one of the participants raised his concern that the opening up of the telecom sector may affect the country’s security and make it vulnerable for others.

    Similar concerns have been raised in different occasions on the consultations that were held in the past several months with stakeholders on the opening up of the sector for two more operators and selling shares for interested buyers at the telecom monopoly, Ethio Telecom, on the privatization scheme.

    For the concern, PM Abiy said that there would not be a system to keep the country from threat because the liberalization has not happened. “I appreciated the concern with regards to national security issue. Even if we kept the sector closed; do we have a capacity to maintain ourselves from attack? As you know we have imported all equipment from aboard that we further don’t know what kind of equipment are installed therein, and how many of us know apparatus and applications installed on our phone?” he rhetorically asked.

    He said that the major issue should be the strengthening of the national security and empowerment of the controlling bodies.

    “We have established different organizations to countering the threat regarding the cyber system.  One of that is the Information Network Security Agency (INSA),” he added.

    “The defense force have had ground force, air force and recently reformed marine force. Now like the marine force it has established the cyber force,” he explained.

    Like other forces the cyber force is working to keep the country from virtual attack. “Ethiopia is not in a place of producing and supplying end to end technologies that might be software or hardware, but the priority is establishing end to end encryption capacity based on sector behavior and sensitivity,” Abiy, who is one of the top figures to establish INSA stated.

    “Regarding security, there is also the law of interception. Many countries do not have their own telecom operators but they have a managed legal framework in this regard,” he argued as he tried to tackle the issue of security vulnerability if the sector opened for others.

    He said that the circumstance will have a chance to strengthen the capacity, “it will give us a chance to see the gap on the issue and strengthen our system.”

    “Many countries national security are strengthening the process of attack and counterattack schemes. There is no one who is fully threat free,” he added.

    After the political reform, which occurred early 2018, Ethiopia has reformed the marine force to keep the country’s security at the international water surface.  The cyber force will be the new system at the Defense Force. About 13 years ago the government had formed INSA to secure the country from cyber attack. The force formed under Defense Force is the other power to keep the country from the modern world military section.

    On the process of opening up the telecom sector the government has targeted to sell 40 percent of the share of Ethio Telecom and to add two more operators.

    The process is expected to be finalized before the end of the current budget year.