No company is safe from hacking attacks: Potraz. 

Source: No company is safe from hacking attacks: Potraz. –Newsday Zimbabwe

Potraz director for data protection Tsitsi Mariwo who was representing director general Gift Machengete said the digital economy without consumer protection will be disastrous.

ABOUT 50 million passwords were hacked in Africa between July 2022 and February 2023, the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (Potraz) has said, amid calls to enhance consumer protection.

Potraz director for data protection Tsitsi Mariwo who was representing director general Gift Machengete said the digital economy without consumer protection will be disastrous.

“We are living in an exciting, yet hazardous digital world,” she said at a sensitisation workshop on the Data Protection Act in Gweru on Wednesday this week.

“One ought to be responsible and take ownership and control of their data if they are to successfully dodge the various ills that are rampant in the digital space. Inability to effectively control the use of one’s personal information leads to regrettable consequences like identity theft, cyber bullying and fraud to name but a few.

“We are here to equip you with knowledge and ability to take control of your data as well as processing data in your custody in a lawful, fair and responsible manner.”

In 2021, a University of Zimbabwe student Martin Magomana unlawfully gained access to the school computer network and allocated accommodation to students, netting US$3 000 in the process.

In an interview on the sidelines of the workshop, Potraz deputy director for computer incidence response team and enforcement Evidence Mazhindu said no company was safe from hacking attacks and critical infrastructure in Zimbabwe are more vulnerable to attacks.

“Every entity should have proper safeguard and measures. One of the key reasons we end up having university students hacking school systems is because our institutions are focussing more on theory than practicals. We need to invest more in research and development,” he added.

Zimbabwe has 9,9 million internet and data subscribers, but 85,3% are unable to cite any rights under the CyberSecurity Act, and 77% are not aware of redress mechanisms in a case of data breach, according to Potraz.

Government promulgated the Cyber and Data Protection Act in 2021 where Potraz was designated as the data protection authority to play an oversight role on all data protection issues in the country.

Potraz is on a drive to engage all stakeholders in the data protection community through sensitisation programmes and the Gweru workshop is the first of its kind in the Midlands Province.

The postal and telecoms regulator has since held workshops in Harare, Masvingo, Mutare and Bulawayo.

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