Practically everybody in Africa has been a cybercrime victim in one way or another, Ida Jallow, Regional Officer of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) for Africa, said in an interview with the Sunday Times.

As long as computer users have an email account and receive spam messages they are potentially subject to cybercrime because they need to send and receive information. However, if they start receiving unsolicited messages, this is a sign of spam, Jallow said. The regional officer stressed the need of law harmonisation, as cybercrime crosses all borders and criminals should be penalised the same way no matter where they reside.

The high level of Internet penetration and the growing use of computers have brought increasing risks of cybercrime to users, as cybercriminals are able get access to their credit cards and personal data, Jallow said.

To confirm Jallow’s opinion, Marco Gercke of the Cyber Crime Research Institute said there are many forms of cybercrime and all users across the globe have been victims somehow. If a user has ever got a virus on their computer, received a spam email, racist propaganda or sexual materials, then they definitely have become victims to cybercrime, he added.

The Ministry of Youth and ICT in collaboration with the ITU have started a project to draft Rwanda’s policy on data protection and cyber security in an effort to improve the country’s ICT regulation. Experts will discuss aspects of data protection, cybercrime and electronic transactions and will exchange experiences of the situation with other countries around the world.