|Chewe Mutale making her presentation|
By Paul Shalala in Lusaka
Zambia is in the process of setting up the National Cyber Security Agency which would protect the nation from hackers who aim at disabling strategic industries and state institutions.
The agency will also be charged with the responsibility of protecting the nation from cyber espionage which has recently become common in the west.
Zambia Information and Communication Technology Authority (ZICTA) Cyber Security Officer Chewe Mutale says the National Cyber Security Agency is necessary due to the many hacking incidents which have been recorded in the United States recently.
“Hacking is now a national threat. There is also a shift from mere hacking to cyber espionage. This is the reason why the country will soon set up the National Cyber Security Agency,” said Ms Mutale when she made a presentation at the Internet Freedom Stakeholders Seminar in Lusaka on Wednesday.
The MISA Zambia-organised event attracted dozens of journalists, bloggers, civil society and cyber security experts who discussed various issues affecting the internet in Zambia.
In her presentation, Ms Mutale also said there was need for Zambia to formulate new cyber security strategies and policies which will help protect the nation from online threats.
She said Zambia should be ready to protect itself from cyber attacks of a national scale.
Currently, ZICTA is in charge of regulating the ICT sector and when a crime is committed online, the institution collaborates with law enforcement agencies to bring suspects to book.
On its own, ZICTA cannot prosecute people it finds wanting hence the need for the National Cyber Security Agency to do the job.
The last time Zambia was hit by a major hack on state institutions was in the 1990s when a lone hacker replaced then President Frederick Chiluba's image from the State House website with that of a woman.
The hacker was arrested and taken to court but he was released because the country had no law against hacking at the time.
The court verdict then prompted the genactment of a law on hacking which has since been amended a number of times.