During the 2021/2022 fiscal year, Ethiopia has recorded more than 5000 cyberattack attempts, hence, registering an all-time high for these attacks. The latest report by the Ethiopian Information Network Security Agency (INSA) revealed that in the last nine months alone, the attacks have quadrupled compared to last year’s fiscal period.
Just recently, Ethiopia foiled cyberattacks that were aimed at obstructing the ongoing work at the dam. At the moment, the negotiations are stalled between parties amidst the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) crisis.
The director-general of INSA’s cybersecurity and intelligence agency, Shumete Gizaw said in a press statement:
“Systematic cyberattacks targeting the GERD and some major financial institutions have been thwarted.”
He explained that the cyberattacks were carried out to hinder the works of GERD and targeted 37,000 interlinked computers which are used by administrative and financial institutions which are connected to the damn and its ongoing construction.
He suspected that the attack was insinuated by an organization which is supported by countries that are trying to hinder Ethiopia’s peace and development by sabotaging the construction of GERD. They’re trying to launch a cyberwar with the motto of “Black Pyramid War.”
In the future, Gizaw expects more cyberattack attempts to hinder the progress of GERD. He affirmed that his country is going to strengthen their cybersecurity in order to protect both the construction and the management of GERD in the making.
According to the Ethiopian News Agency, on June 23, 2020, the country botched several cyberattacks from Egypt on a political and economic front. They indicated the cyberattacks were plotted by an Egyptian group called Cyber Horus.
Ethiopia has been boosting its capabilities by addressing cyberattacks by developing INSA. It was established by Addis Ababa to counter cyberattacks.
In April 2021, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed inaugurated the new headquarters of the agency which cost 2.1 billion Ethiopian birrs (around $40.4 million) to build.
Meanwhile, Cairo hasn’t responded yet to Addis Ababa’s allegations.
These accusations coincide with the stalled negotiations of GERD between Ethiopia, Sudan, and Egypt, specifically as the date of the third filling of the dam is fast approaching, which is to begin later this month.
Even though the negotiations are stalled, Egypt continues to push forward with the need to sign a legal agreement in order to regulate the process of filling and operating the GERD.
On May 11th, during a meeting with the US national security advisor Jake Sullivan, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi stressed that his country has a “firm position on the necessity of reaching a binding legal agreement for the process of the filling and operation of the dam, in a manner that preserves Egyptian water security and achieves the common interests of the three countries.”
In the past few years, Egypt has been paying special attention to strengthening its cybersecurity. The Egyptian Cabinet’s Information and Decision Support Center have praised the Egyptian state for its interest in data security and cybersecurity, hand-in-hand with the National Cybersecurity Strategy.
Through the development of a national system, the idea is to protect the critical infrastructure and build the nation’s capabilities in specialized fields.
The formation of the Egyptian Supreme Cyber Security Council was announced by the Egyptian Cabinet in 2014. It consisted of a number of ministries that’d deal with cyberattacks and develop the cybersecurity field.
The Egyptian Cabinet did a cybersecurity activity on March 29th with the members of every ministry to measure the extent of readiness and response while dealing with cyberattacks of all sorts.