INSA Aborts Cyber Attacks on Financial Institutions

By Staff Reporter

INSA-EthiopiaDecember 6, 2019 ( -- The Ethiopian Information Network Security Agency (INSA) has announced that it has aborted cyber attacks launched against financial institutions across the country.

Internet connection was cut off for about thirty minutes as the agency was struggling to defend the financial institutions from the attack, Deputy Director-General of the Agency Engineer Worku Gachena has said.

Swift actions are needed to thwart cyber attacks as the grand attacks have been increasing alarmingly in Ethiopia, according to Deputy Director-General.

Cyber-attacks have increased from 479 and 576 to 791 grand attacks annually during the past three successive years.

Early last month, the country observed the first Cyber Security Week when INSA Director-General Ifrah Ali said the attacks, which targeted key infrastructures and citizens, have been growing fast.

“If we don’t act swiftly for sustainable solutions at the national level, the cyber attacks will negatively impact the country’s peace, development, and democratic system,” she noted.

Despite the growing trends of using technologies in the country, the awareness and capacity to prevent cyber attacks is still poor; and this makes the situation even worse, Ifrah stated.

Lack of awareness, inadequate legal framework, and poor cybersecurity governance, among others, were cited as the major challenges.

Thus increasing awareness and building the capacity of citizens and institutions in cybersecurity are among the next directions to be prioritized by the government and other stakeholders.

Since cybersecurity is new to Ethiopia and needs many trained human resources, the government is ready to provide all the necessary inputs and technological supports to tackle cyber attacks, he stressed.

The world has lost $1.5 trillion in 2018 due to cyber attacks. The world is also projected to lose 6 trillion USD by 2021.

The agency managed to defend the attack prior to causing no damage among the institutions, Worku added.

According to the agency, Ethiopian institutions were affected by a global cyberattack that hit some 155 countries.

INSA, a government body tasked to defend threats against the country’s Information Technology (IT) infrastructures said various state-owned and private institutions were hit last year by a computer virus called "WannaCry Malware" or "Decrypt WannaCry".

The state-run Ethio Telecom, Industries and hospitals were few among those affected by the attack, mostly a computer virus.

INSA, however, didn’t reveal the levels of damage inflicted by the cyberattacks against Ethiopian institutions.

According to INSA, the virus that affects institutions uses Windows operating systems and advised those institutions to update their system to avert the dangers of cyber threats that are believed to continue.

INSA called on institutions seeking help to upgrade their Windows operating systems to contact INSA on a toll-free local number 933 or email to to get the necessary support. It also warned them of opening email messages sent from unknown addresses.

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