17th March 2023
One of the activities in the framework of the ongoing implementation of the ECOWAS and Mauritania Project “Organised Crime: West African Response on Cybersecurity and fight against Cybercrime” (OCWAR-C) funded by the European Union (EU) is to raise awareness on digital hygiene in the Region.
The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has seen an increase in the usage of digital technologies to facilitate large communications, information and knowledge sharing, day to day interactions with financial institutions, for living expenses and for work extension to home environment. All these are potential doors opened to severe setbacks.
As most organizations have now embraced the digital world by increasing remote work, digital hygiene is now a must. In analogy with the usual hygiene, digital hygiene comprises of practices and behaviours aimed at rendering the digital environment safer. Hygiene is even more important in the digital environment as threats are not only from events that may occur, but also probably from malicious intents of bad actors. A good way to assert digital hygiene is to reach out to various target audiences and motivate them to take action.
The ECOWAS Commission through the OCWAR-C project has initiated this awareness workshop which aim to sensitize its Institutions/Agencies management and staff on:
– the need for digital hygiene,
– why it needs to be adhered to
– and how to act accordingly so as to make the digital environment safer.
The expected results are :
– Increased consciousness of managers and staff on the importance of being cyber safe and how they can protect themselves and the ECOWAS Institutions/Agencies when online or when faced with attempts to lure them out and make them disclose sensitive data regarding their financial assets.
– A support unit implemented at the ECOWAS Commission where staff can file complaints, report incidents and get assistance. Such unit can be integrated to the current IT Help Desk in case it is not yet handling cybersecurity related incidents. This will then extend its mission.
The IT Help Desk is then to add new appropriate protocols to handle cases related to cybersecurity incidents processing what happened to restore affected assets, escalating to legal steps if need be, providing supportive services such as victim advocacy, etc.