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Fortune Vol. 21 No. 1070 Nov. 1, 2020                                                                       C O M M E N TA R Y                         Page 13

The threat of cyberattacks on institutions grows by the day. Financial organisations should thus take effective measures to ensure cyber resilience,
     instead of just responding to cyber attacks, writes Bashir Semakula (, a cyber security expert based in Australia.

Better to be Resilient than Overreact to Cyber Threats
Cyber attacks are growing
        in frequency and                                                     Although outsourcing           on cyber resilience activities to          The BeagleBoyz have been
        sophistication, and many                                                                            achieve strategic objectives.              responsible for sophisticated cyber-
        organisations across the                                           has great benefits, it also                                                 enabled bank robberies since 2015
world are struggling to keep up.                                                                            Since the board is ultimately              and most famously stole 81 million
Right here in Africa, financial                                           introduces cyber risk to an       responsible for oversight of               dollars from the Bank of Bangladesh
organisations are being targeted.                                                                           cyber risk and resilience, it must         in 2016.
The most recent attacks allegedly                                                 organisation.             define and quantify risk tolerance
affected major banks in Uganda and                                                                          consistent with business strategy. To      Cyber criminals have different
Nigeria, Stanbic Bank and Central         these measures is establishing                                    oversee the cyber risk management,         motivations for their activities.
Bank of Nigeria, respectively.            efficient governance structures.                                  the board must establish a cyber           The BeagleBoyz seem financially
                                          Critical to consider is that managing                             risk committee comprised of                motivated, while the attack of
These attacks reinforce the results       cyber risk is a leadership issue, not                             senior business, technology and            Nigeria's central bank by the
of a survey titled "Banking Fraud         a technology one.                                                 risk leaders.                              anonymous hacking group could be
in Sub-Saharan Africa," by the                                                                                                                         hacktivism — socially or politically
Morocco-based information security        “Being resilient requires those at                                A chief information security officer       motivated reason — though the
firm Dataprotect, which found that        the highest levels of a company,                                  with access to the board and               bank denied the attacks happened.
more than 85pc of 148 banks               organisation or government to                                     sufficient authority, must chair this
examined had fallen victim to at least    recognise the importance of                                       committee and regularly report to          To maintain resilience against
one cyber attack resulting in losses.     avoiding and proactively mitigating                               the board using business-aligned           a variety of cyber threats,
The survey also found that banks are      risks,” a 2017 World Economic                                     and relevant cyber metrics. The            executive leadership must ensure
vulnerable to these sorts of attacks      Forum report, "Advancing Cyber                                    organisation should also establish an      continued focus on the most
due to unqualified staff and lack of      Resilience: Principles and Tools                                  operational governance committee           critical information assets whose
investment in cybersecurity.              for Boards," affirmed. “While                                     to oversee the implementation of           compromise could adversely
                                          it is everyone’s responsibility to                                cybersecurity controls and report          affect business operations and
As the threat landscape changes           cooperate in order to ensure greater                              to the cyber risk committee.               reputation. To develop high-value
and banks explore emerging                cyber resilience, leaders that set                                                                           strategies, banks must take a risk-
technologies to provide innovative        the strategy for an organisation are                              Another critical matter is developing      based approach to cyber resilience
products and services, these              ultimately responsible, and have                                  and implementing high-value cyber          and ensure cyber investments are
cyberattacks will only increase.          increasingly been held accountable                                resilience strategies.                     allocated to initiatives with the
                                          for including cyber resilience in                                                                            most significant benefit to cyber
Financial organisations must take         organisational strategy.”                                         A hacking team associated with             resilience.
effective measures to ensure cyber                                                                          North Korea — referred to as
resilience. Taken holistically, there     Cyberattacks can disrupt business                                 BeagleBoyz — resumed targeting             It is just as necessary to manage
are efforts that can be used to           operations, affect customer                                       banks in multiple countries                supplier risk. This is because as
improve efficiency and effectiveness,     confidence and may attract                                        including nine in Africa, to initiate      organisations pursue efficiencies and
enable innovation, support digital        regulatory fines. This reputational                               fraudulent international money             effectiveness, they are increasingly
transformation and business               damage will ultimately affect the                                 transfers and ATM cash outs through        relying on third parties and business
strategy and, most importantly,           bottom line of the business. Executive                            remote access, according to US             partners to deliver services. Fifty-
enhance cyber resilience.                 leadership must maintain oversight                                government agencies such as the            nine percent of companies had
                                                                                                            Cybersecurity & Infrastructure &
Perhaps the most detrimental of                                                                             Security Agency (CISA) and Federal                               (Continued on PAGE 24)
                                                                                                            Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

By Tsegaab Teklu                        VIEWPOINT

With Sudan Off Terrorism List, Prosperity Looms Closer
On October 19, President
          Donald Trump tweeted                                                   The biggest impact of      debt relief have been met.                 primary beneficiaries of this potential
          that the new government                                                                                                                      change will be Sudanese citizens
          of Sudan agreed to pay a                                           Sudan's delisting is believed  As neighbours, Sudan and Ethiopia’s        who have long been working toward
settlement of 335 million dollars to                                                                        history and fate are highly intertwined.   improved livelihood. Beyond this,
terror victims. Upon depositing this                                          to be the support of the US   Even the undemocratic leaders in           development in Sudan would further
money, the country will be lifted from                                                                      both countries managed to maintain         have a ripple effect on the region.
the state sponsors of terrorism (SST)                                        and ally nations to Sudan’s    a good, if not a stable, diplomatic
list of the United States, the president                                                                    relationship before and after Sudan’s      One of the many industries that would
added.                                                                                debt problem.         SST designation. Currently, both nations   benefit from growth in either one of
                                                                                                            are undergoing massive political           the nations is the air transport sector.
Four days later, the president and Mike   counterterrorism relationship early                               changes and trying to recoup missed        The direct correlation between growth
Pompeo, secretary of state, reiterated    in the new millennium. Despite this                               growth opportunities.                      and mobility is a well-established fact.
the notion on a televised phone call      cooperation, the SST continued to                                                                            The biggest player in the African air
with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin      include Sudan for various factors that                            One common challenge both reforming        transport sector, Ethiopian Airlines,
Netanyahu. Though President Trump’s       needed to be resolved before delisting.                           governments are facing is a high debt-     will become one of the growth partners
off-the-cuff, eyebrow-raising comment                                                                       to-GDP ratio. Sudan’s current gross        because of the strategic proximity of its
on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance        This included the court judgments that                            debt is 259pc of its GDP, making it the    hub and the scale of its international
Dam (GERD) grabbed headlines, in          ordered Sudan to pay a settlement to                              second-highest ratio of the nations        service.
his call with Sudanese Prime Minister     the victims of the 1998 US embassy                                IMF tracks and one of the handful of
Abdalla Hamdok, it also underlined        attacks in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam                              nations that IMF classified as being in    The energy industry would also be one
two items with potential impacts on       and the 2000 attack on the US Navy                                debt distress. Though Ethiopia’s debt-     potential sector that would enhance
East Africa: the Sudan-Israel diplomatic  ship at the Port of Aden. The new                                 to-GDP ratio is much lower than that       cooperation between the neighbouring
normalisation and Sudan’s expected        transitional government that succeeded                            of Sudan’s, the IMF classifies Ethiopia    nations. Development calls for higher
delisting from the SST list.              President Omar al-Bashir’s three-                                 under high risk of debt distress.          energy demand and one of the mega
                                          decade reign has been taking steps to                                                                        energy undertakings in the region is
The list designates countries that have   make the delisting a reality.                                     Debt cancellation and relief provide       the GERD project.
“repeatedly provided support for acts                                                                       additional working capital for
of international terrorism,” according    The biggest impact of Sudan's delisting                           distressed nations. It helps retain the    It is unclear whether or not the
to the United States Department of        is believed to be the support of the                              money that would have gone to service      SST negotiation made Sudan feel a
State. Sudan has been on it since August  US and ally nations to Sudan’s debt                               the foreign debt to be locally invested.   certain way about GERD negotiations.
1993 for "supporting" international       problem. The US could be open to                                  It was in April of this year that Prime    Regardless, successful completion of
terrorist group members. The other        voting on World Bank and International                            Minister Abiy Ahmed (PhD) detailed         the Dam will make it a powerhouse to
countries currently on this list are      Monetary Fund (IMF) debt relief                                   the challenges faced by highly-indebted    the region, making Sudan the closest
North Korea, Iran and Syria.              packages in favour of Sudan. This                                 countries and advocated for a "debt        beneficiary.
                                          would also potentially help the country                           cancellation for poor nations" in a New
Though most sanctions on Sudan            in the step toward qualifying for debt                            York Times opinion piece.                  Tsegaab Teklu is an enterprise
were lifted by 2017, the SST was          relief under the Heavily Indebted Poor                                                                       performance management and data-
one of the long lingering restrictions    Countries (HIPC) initiative. Currently,                           It is estimated that national debt starts  driven leadership professional in the
Sudan continued to live with. Sudan       Sudan is among the three countries in                             to slow a country’s growth once it         United States. The opinions held here
and the US re-established a working       the Pre-Decision-Point phase, which                               reaches half of its GDP. With this,        are those of the author and do not
                                          shows that some initial conditions for                            Sudan welcomes any debt relief that        represent those of any organisation.
                                                                                                            might result from the SST delisting. The   He can be reached at @tsegaab.
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