16 May 2017

South Africa: Improved Policies to Secure Cyberspace

Pretoria — Government is making inroads in putting in place policy and legislative measures that will secure South Africa's cyberspace.

These include the Cybercrime and Cybersecurity Bill, which is currently before Parliament, after having gone through a process of consultation with the relevant stakeholders.

The Bill seeks to ensure that the country has the relevant legislative framework in place.

In partnership with institutions of higher learning, government has also launched capacity building programmes that will bolster the State Security Agency's capacity to respond to the problem of cyber insecurity.

"These initiatives will not only bolster the capacity of government to respond to cyber insecurity, but it will create a skills base that will improve cybersecurity for the public and private sectors," said State Security Mister David Mahlobo on Tuesday.

Such efforts come as South Africa remains one of the targets for cybercrime.

Research shows that small companies and ordinary citizens, especially unsuspecting children, are being increasingly targeted by cyber criminals. Hacktivists from ransomware, identity theft, cyber bullying, internet banking fraud and the misuse of social networks are some of the most rampant challenges in cyberspace.

Last weekend, the world experienced ransomware attacks on networks. This had potentially disastrous consequences for individuals, governments, business and society as a whole.

The recent attacks affected more than 100 countries, including the UK health care system and railway system in Germany, among others.

Minister Mahlobo said the Government Computer Security Incident Response Centre is monitoring the situation, after having sent advisories to government departments, State-owned enterprises and financial institutions to secure their networks.

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