The software used by the government of Cameroon for the management of certain taxes in the country is said to have suffered what has been qualified by some as a major cyberattack, the Minister of Finance, Louis-Paul Motaze, announced late last week. The Minister said the attack, which rendered the system dysfunctional for about ten days, occurred on 25 September 2020 and the platform remained out of use until 6 October 2020 when technicians were able completely to fix the problem.

โ€œThe Minister of Finance wishes to inform the general public that the MESURE tax management software was the subject of a cyberattack on Friday 25 September 2020. This resulted in the outage of some online services offered to taxpayers such as the Collection Notice (CN) and the Tax Clearance Certificate (TCC),โ€ Motaze said.

In response, technicians of the National Agency for Information and Communication Technologies (ANTIC) - the government agency responsible for monitoring the cybersecurity systems of public institutions - as well as staff of the tax administration were immediately deployed to handle the situation.

โ€œTheir concerted actions resulted in the re-establishment of the MESURE tax management software on Wednesday 30 September,โ€ Motaze disclosed, adding that that the system witnessed total normally only from 6 October when the process for the reconstitution and retrieval of affected files was completed.

In recent times, Cameroonโ€™s government has fronted several campaigns on cybersecurity as some of its public institutions have come under savage cyberattacks. In June, the elections management body, ELECAM, said its official Facebook account was hacked and malicious information posted on the platform to tarnish and denigrate the image of the institution. In July, the countryโ€™s anti-graft agency, CONAC, warned against what it said was a rising wave of cybercrimes in the country.

Cyberattacks have generally been on a sharp increase on the continent these last few months following a spike in online activities as a result of the new coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) which has drastically changed the way people go about their day-to-day activities.

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