Hackers cost service providers

MOBILE service providers have raised concern over hackers who create applications which allow users to send data through secret channels called virtual private network (VPNs) at the same time evading tariffs.

BY BLESSED MHLANGA

Econet Zimbabwe’s Robert Rusike, who was speaking at a Zimbabwe Information and Communication Technologies workshop yesterday, said the use of VPNs was affecting their revenue.

“These tools are used in countries which are viewed as those run by despots or authoritarian regimes and they create a secret tunnel in which information is moved and cannot be detected. We, therefore, can’t charge for that data because the same equipment used to detect data is the same which we use to charge,” he said.

Rusike said if VPN spots were not dealt with, it would affect the viability of mobile service providers, who will fail to collect revenue from data moved through their networks.

Information and Communication Technologies minister Supa Mandiwanzira said he was aware of the viability problems facing providers owing to the use of VPNs and called on the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe and the mobile service providers to meet and find a solution to the problem.

“Infrastructure is being put up with huge costs and that money is not coming from Zimbabwe, but is being borrowed from foreign financial institutions. This money needs to be paid back, so that issue poses viability problems and has to be resolved before it hits us,” Mandiwanzira said.

He also proposed a central cyber-incident management centre, where cybercrimes will be reported, warnings sent from and investigations of cybercrimes would be co-ordinated from.

“It is important and it is part of the ITU’s [International Telecommunication Union] mandate to assist regions and countries to have computer instant response centres to ensure that where there are attacks on the cyber space, they are reported. For instance, where a bank is attacked, it has to be reported instantly and warnings sent out to other institutions,” Mandiwanzira said.

The government is currently working on a cyber Bill, which will, among other things, see the government give itself power to snoop on private information on the Internet.

This Bill has been met with resistance from civil society and general Internet users, who say it could stifle freedom of expression ahead of the crucial 2018 general elections.

8 Comments

  1. This is Zimbabwe. The cyber incident center was planned for take off by Eng. Baxter Sirewu and Alfred Marisa of POTRAZ in 2013. The following year Bonnie Mtengwa and Robert Ndlovu (fired) were supposed to see it off. This is nothing new.Stop grandstanding. We had the plan here at the Military Academy but as usual what can you expect from a confused system.

  2. Methinks a central cyber-incident management centre will only be effective where we have highly qualified and competent Electronic/Telecommunications security engineers working as experts (not data capture operators or clerks). If the VPN challenge persists with no solution in sight, what future can be trusted to this centre?

  3. This article is a lie. VPNs don’t evade traffic, some protocols allow for the compression of data saving the user about 15% in average. ISPs and authoritarian regimes don’t want the use of VPNs as doing so denies them the chance to eavesdrop on our communications. Resist the Cyber Bill, its not meant to protect us. Its designed to spy on us.

    1. Spot on. In order to access content through a VPN, you are charged by the ISP for every byte of data in the downstream to your computer or internet capable device. VPNs are there to avoid detection of content, source and destination addresses and locations, and eavesdropping. something ISPs and Governments are always eager to do. They are there to promote freedom of expression, access to content of any type and so on without being tracked down and possibly victimised.

      This conference was really about propping up Supa’s long held dream of implementing a central gateway through which all data would enter or exit the country, so that the authorities can eavesdrop on citizens’ activity on the internet. They also can actually choke the gateway or even totally cause a countrywide internet blackout if necessary for their expediency. Well it’s kinda naturally the way to go in a dictatorship.

    2. Spot on sure. Hakuna data rinofamba unaccounted for in any network because the very network is the one that pumps this data through. The only problem is knowing what that data is all about,nthat’s where the government wants to sniff into our private conversations for gagging management and freedom after expression processing.

    3. I thought as much, you are still charged even if you use a VPN. I really don’t know what the seminar was all about when such contributions made on behalf of Econet were based on misrepresented facts. What is the intention behind? Tariffs hike again? Be innovative and adopt to change mobile operators otherwise you are simply paving a way for new better rivals once you fail

  4. Time does not wait for you while you hurl brickbats at each other. I f you had any glimmer of sense you would use this time, while ZANU PF are bickering, to strengthen your coalition but alas, you decide to follow suit. But ZANU PF are clever, while they are fighting they are also preparing their supporters. And you, what are you doing? We don’t want to hear the “We was robbed” mantra again. Wake up and grow up!! Show some maturity please!

  5. Inomama chete econet

    Lol until econet reduces their data tariffs. ….. hai their data is way expensive. …. we should have at least unlimited data for $50 or less….. so until that happens. PAMBERI NE VPN

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