Minister Siyabonga Cwele: Launch of Cybersecurity Hub

30 Oct 2015

Address by Dr. Siyabonga Cwele, Minister of Telecommunications and Postal Services at the launch of the Cybersecurity Hub at CSIR, Pretoria

Programme  Director
Ministers and Deputy Ministers  of state security
Minister Bruno Yapande, Minister of Communication  CAR
CEO  CSIR Dr SIBISI
The leaders of national institutions
The leaders of industry
The leaders of civil society
Academia and press
Ladies and gentlemen

Let me welcome you to this historic event of the launch of the National Cybersecurity Hub  of South Africa. We are pleased with the attendance of stakeholders from government, banking industry, ICT industry, academia and civil society who have joined us today as partners. The hub is derived from the 2012 Cybersecurity Policy Framework as a platform to assist our members of the public, business organisation with the safe use of the internet.

The Internet  is the most important global tool or resource at the hands of nations to advance the socio-economic development of the people. The Internet and ICTs are driving information society among nations and are at the center of the digital revolution that nourish the knowledge economy and rapid globalisation. The Internet is the largest equaliser within and across nations. Those who embrace it will reap great benefits and those who fail to take advantage of it will be left behind in the doldrums of perpetual underdevelopment. We encourage our citizens, business all structures of civil society to embrace the internet.

Let me acknowledge our officials who have been working hard with CSIR experts under the guidance of our National Cybersecurity Response Team to develop this state-of-the-art facility. We thank CSIR for providing us with space to house this National asset. With this humble beginning we will soon be on par with the most developed nations of the world as we increase the capacity of the Cybersecurity Hub, national awareness and skills.

Cyber attacks are real. No single individual or company may afford to singlehandedly defend him or herself against hackers and havoc-wreakers. As an example, 2 years ago South Africa was number 3 in the world in phishing incidences. If people discover that they have experienced theft they usually just count their losses and try and defend themselves from repeat incidences. We learn daily of incidences of internet fraud where the poor are lured to buy products which appear cheap but are required to deposit funds only to find it was fake.

The Cybersecurity virtual hub has been established to serve as a central point for collaboration between industry, government and civil society on all cybersecurity related incidents in South Africa. The information gathered by the hub will be used to monitor cyber-attacks and provide warnings to stakeholders of immerging threats, serve as information centre for solutions on how to deal with treats and enable stakeholders to get updates on the global for preemptive measures to strengthen their systems against cyber-attacks. It is a centre for collaboration among all stakeholders to empower us to jointly defend ourselves against the criminal elements that abuse our global resource, the internet, for attacking us in order to disrupt our activities or to steal. We are a caring government who believes in our collective strength, that is why the National Cybersecurity Hub will offer its services free to the public.

In short the functions of the hub will be among others to:

  • Receiving incident reports from stakeholders and establishing clear incident management processes.
  • Disseminating information to stakeholders about threats and attacks as a pre-emptive measure as well as mitigating procedures against emerging attacks
  • Creating an archive of lessons learnt to ensure ease of access in dealing with future threats and vulnerabilities
  • In the case of cyberbullying involving Cybersecurity Hub legal entities and assisting with escalating attacks to the relevant authorities
  • And chairing of scheduled meetings with reporting and trending attacks and incidents for the specific period.

The hub will become a point of reference for citizens in as far as cybersecurity issues are concerned providing a repository of information regarding the do's and don't s of Internet for children, best practice guide for parenting on the Internet and how the average South African can protect against malicious attacks, identity theft and online financial security. The hub will create platforms to allow parents to share information on how to manage their children online and also provide links to Internet resources to assist both children and parents.

For the very first time in South Africa, the hub will ensure collaboration between businesses and create a platform for partnership between government and the private sector on cybersecurity. It will also facilitate the leveraging of high end cybersecurity capacity which is scarce as we build confidence and trust among stakeholders and place our nation in a better position to respond to cybersecurity in a much more coordinated matter. The shared information also provides an opportunity for cost savings as the hub’s expertise will allow for quicker incident recovery, which can translate to less money spent on incident response.

Ladies and gentlemen,

We need to mobilise all our cybersoldiers to come on board to defend South Africa and her people. We can beat cyber attacks and disruptions. We need to mobilise our resources to train and equip our cybersoldiers with high-end skill and technology to defend our nation. As Government, we will play our part in identifying young South African of talent to join this cyber army. We call on our industry to do the same. We call upon our academic institutions to develop the relevant curriculum for training.

The cybersecurity hub can be contacted through its website, https://www.cybersecurityhub.co.za, which is already live and ready for operation. I would like to make a call that stakeholders should subscribe to the hub through this platform. To report incidents, use this email address, incidents@cybersecurity.co.za. Over the next few days, we will establish a presence for the hub on social media such as Facebook and Twitter. The department will explore other means of communication that will enable the services of the hub to be accessible by all South Africans.

In conclusion

I would like to express my gratitude to all the stakeholders who have made an effort to be present today. I am confident that you will play a part in developing this hub to be a vibrant centre of information sharing and exchange.

As you surf the web and as you surf the social media, we want you do so in confidence that you have a friend to lean on in the National Cybersecurity Hub. Come on our loyal cyberbersoldiers and join hands to defend our nation and our cyberspace. Let us join hands in the awareness and exploit the benefits of the internet for our social and economic development.

I thank you.

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