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If SA doesn’t protect its cyber infrastructure, God help us

Ideas

If SA doesn’t protect its cyber infrastructure, God help us

A country as globally networked as SA should be taking the state and citizens’ wellbeing seriously. It’s not

Songezo Zibi

Yesterday’s edition of the Sunday Times led with a story by Sabelo Skiti, in which he reported on the extreme vulnerabilities of SA’s state IT infrastructure. The problem is so bad that even President Cyril Ramaphosa’s information has been accessible to hackers, to the extent that the journalist showed screenshots thereof to the presidency.

I do not want to repeat the story, except to say that other state entities are similarly vulnerable, though I don’t believe many South Africans care. Cybersecurity, though extremely common and dangerous, is not well understood.

A few years ago I felt compelled to try to convince a few journalist friends to look into the same matter, specifically in the context of the state’s physical infrastructure, much of which is operated using computer networks, which need software. SARS’s customs system, Transnet’s ports and international cargo carriers such as DHL, DSV and others are examples of networks that are integrated...

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