NATCOM Slaps 90 days ultimatum on MNOs


NATCOM Slaps 90 days ultimatum on MNOs

By Joseph S. Margai, Strategic Communications Coordinator, State House

Abdul Kamara, NATCOM’s head of cybersecurity: ready to tackle cybercrime in the telecommunications industry

In order to tackle the increasing rate of cybercrime, the National Telecommunications Commission (NATCOM), has recently slapped a 90-day ultimatum on mobile network operators (MNOs).

The ultimatum is to allow them to do a proper registration of all mobile sim cards in the country.

Abdul Kamara, Head of Cybersecurity at NATCOM, stated on Tuesday, 7th May, 2019, at his NATCOM office in Freetown, that his institution has sternly warned MNOs to register all mobile sim cards within 90 days.

He disclosed that the ultimatum came into effect on 15th April, 2019, and in July this year, NATCOM expects every MNO to have complied.

“The Commission took this decision because of the rise in cybercrime. We have received complaints from the general public of impersonation, mobile money theft, murder related cases, among many others,” he said.

He added that NATCOM, which is Sierra Leone’s sole telecommunications regulator, wants to ensure that the criteria for sim cards registration are strictly followed by MNOs.

“These criteria include names, addresses, photos, etc., of all subscribers. Once these are available in the data system of the MNOs, we would now be able to tackle cybercrime by arresting anyone that is involved,” he said.

The NATCOM’s cybersecurity head also said some social media users are in the habit of breaking into someone’s private account and start to post thrash, thereby putting the real owner’s security into threat.

He said NATCOM has a responsibility to protect subscribers by prioritising national security.

He noted that penalties for failing to meet the 90 days ultimatum would be determined by NATCOM.

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