9 April 2021, Bishoftu - Ethiopia - The IGAD Security Sector Program (IGAD SSP) has successfully concluded a four-days national training on Investigating and Prosecuting Cybercrime for Ethiopia held on 5-8 April 2021. The objective of the training was to provide the participants the requisite knowledge and skills in conducting cybercrime investigations and prosecuting such cases.
It was also to create awareness about the constantly evolving threat of cybercrime in order to strengthen cooperation between relevant security institutions through enhanced cooperation and coordination among the units that directly deal with cybercrime, cybersecurity, as well as the critical infrastructures. In addition, it was intended to assess the threat level and vulnerability of Ethiopia to cybercrime through the capacity of investigation techniques, available mechanisms, as well as identify the gaps and challenges in the criminal justice sector.
The training was officially opened by Commander Abebe Muluneh, Director of IGAD SSP, who highlighted that “Africa in general is prone to potential safe haven of cybercrime on three main reasons like:(1) the availability of faster and more affordable internet access. (2) the expanding internet user base, and (3) the lack of cybercrime laws”. He further said that “Ethiopia is experiencing a massive increase in internet access, and its internet user base is expending. On the other hand, cybersecurity governance is at its infant stage, and much needs to be done. This creates an environment that could make Ethiopia a safe harbor for cybercrime”. He pointed out the need for technical capability in investigating and prosecuting cybercrime related cases as part of the effort to enhance the capacity of relevant institutions.
The training brought together 43 (37 male and 6 female) senior practitioners from law enforcement agencies including the public prosecution and the judiciary. Specifically, the participants were drawn from the Federal Police Commission, National Intelligence Security Services (NISS), Information Security Agency (INSA), Attorney General’s Office, and Federal Supreme Court that directly deal with the threat of cybercrime and transnational organized crimes. The training was facilitated by subject matter expertise and practitioners from Federal Police, INSA and the Attorney General’s Office who have provided detailed insights and shared their experiences in order to attain the intended objective. The United Nations Center for Counter Terrorism (UNCCT) have also supported the training through two virtual sessions further strengthening the cooperation between IGAD and UNCCT.
During the course of the four-days, the following topics were covered:
- Cybercrime as Transnational Security Threats (TSTs): Efforts of IGAD SSP
- Concepts, types and terminology of cybercrime
- Cybercrime & cybersecurity - vulnerability, risks, security, and threats types, modus of operandi, role of technology
- Cybercrime and the law – national, regional, and international
- Basics of cybercrime investigation – methods, mechanisms, evidence gathering, digital forensics, etc
- Cybercrime investigation states - In-depth analysis of the various investigation techniques, tools, and procedures, computer forensics, electronic evidence, methodologies, capability, available technology, etc
- The basics of prosecuting cybercrime cases – evidence admissibility to court of evidences, witness protection, etc
- Freedom of expression, digital rights, access to information, data privacy – respect for human rights
- Finding intelligence safely and accurately - access to surface and deep web, use of technology for data collection, etc with live demo, practical exercise
- Online investigation preparation - information collection, processing, analysis and reporting
- Investigative and detective skills including undercover operations
- Presentation and documentation of the digital evidence for effective prosecution - converting to understandable versions, understanding of the evidence, defend and proof without tampering the value and meaning of the evidence
- Electronic crime scene investigations
- Good practices of cybercrime investigation and prosecution
- Law enforcement challenges and opportunities in cybercrime - investigation and prosecution
- Case studies, group discussions, live demos and table top exercises.
At the end of the training, participants discussed in detail the way forward and charted out recommendation for relevant stakeholders at all levels - national, regional, and international.
The training was officially closed by Commander Abebe, who reminded the delegates about the importance of investigation by saying “we all have an awareness of the broad impact of cybercrime, how it touches individuals, organizations, and governments everywhere, from small, local incidents all the way to international relations and conflict. At all levels of law enforcement, cybercrime can and must be investigated, because, those not investigated will never be solved”. With that end, he thanked the Government of Ethiopia, European Union, participants, experts, UNCCT and all involved for the success of the training.
One of the objectives of the IGAD Security Sector Program (IGAD SSP) is to enhance institutional and human capacities of Member States to effectively address emerging, evolving, and existing transnational security threats (EEE-TSTs) in order to contribute to regional peace and stability, and foster enabling environment for regional integration and development of the sub-region. Hence, this specific training was part of this objective in complimenting the efforts of the Member States, Ethiopia in this case, in countering the threat of cybercrime and enhance the capability of cyber security. The training was conducted with the financial support from the European Union Trust Fund (EUTF) through the Austrian Development Agency (ADA) under the IPPSHAR Program.