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MDF trains security officers on cybersecurity

By Sellah Singini

Lilongwe, December 4: Malawi Defence Force (MDF) has embarked on a one-week training to train security officers from different security agencies in the country on cybersecurity and national security.

The security officers have been drawn from Malawi Defence Force, Malawi Police Service, National Intelligence Service, department of Immigration and ministry of Homeland Security.

Speaking during an opening of the training in Lilongwe on Monday, Secretary for Defence Erica Maganga said in today’s world, Malawi need security experts who are able to connect dots and identify primed and adjusted measures to prevent or deter possible threats to national security.

She said, apart from building productive and enduring partnerships to defend against and respond to cyber threats, there is also need to encourage good cyber hygiene and drive improved cyber practices in homes, schools, universities and workplaces in Malawi.

“That is why as government, we are interested in this event’s focus on discussing possibilities including how government and cybersecurity practitioners can assist Malawians and businesses to adapt to new cyber threats and expectations and help support positive and resilient cybersecurity cultures.

“As we can see, cyber is the new battlefield and whether we like it or not, we are all joined in an online contest to preserve our personal security but also our digital sovereignty as a country. Therefore, National Defence College and MACRA should be commended for initiating this training,” She said.

In his remarks, Commander for Malawi Defence Force General Paul Valentino Phiri said cybersecurity is no longer just a technical issue but a matter of national security.

He said, the increasing frequency and sophistication of cyber-attacks pose a significant threat to the country’s critical infrastructure, government institutions, businesses and individual privacy.

“In recent years, Malawi has seen a rise in cybercrimes, including attacks, online fraud and hacking incidents. Many have fallen victims to these and the implications of such attacks cannot be overemphasized,” Phiri said.

“Much as the government has taken steps to address cybercrimes, more concerted efforts are needed to strengthen the overall cybersecurity posture, fostering diversity, promoting inclusivity, enhancing the learning experiences and preparing you all for the globalized workforce,” He added.

Secretary for Information and Digitalization Heatherwick Njati said, if Malawi is to achieve digital transformation and build a resilient digital economy, there is need to assure ICT users of a safe and secure cyberspace.

“It is therefore imperative that we hold such trainings to provide a platform where policymakers and key stakeholders can discuss issues that are pertinent to the growth of our country.

 By building the capacity of our security sector in issues of cybersecurity, we are equipping the sector with the necessary tools to defend itself against cyber threats,” He said.

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