Beza Belayneh, chief executive officer (CEO) at the South African Centre for Information Security, was speaking at the Neotel/Mail & Guardian business breakfast yesterday (Tuesday) on cybercrime in South Africa.
Belayneh believes the country is an open target to attack, being a well-connected society.
He said: “Cybercrime is no longer a criminality, it is a national crisis,” Engineering News reported.
Hoping to spur on the gathering of cabinet ministers, banks and consultants, hackings of government and police websites as well as banks were referred to.
The South African Police Service (SAPS) has been the worst affected, according to the CEO.
Citing statistics that put South Africa’s losses through cybercrime at an estimated ZAR1 billion (US$101 million) per year, Belayneh declared: “It now threatens human life.”
The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) puts the figure cyber attacks cost the global economy per year at around US$100 billion.
Siyabonga Cwele, state security minister, revealed the government was working on a strategy to combat cybercrime.
Private and public sectors are under attack and therefore require a proper framework for protection of South Africa’s small scale economy.
Following the approval of the proposed framework in 2012, the national security threats will be reviewed and procedural laws updated and developed accordingly for the 2013 edition.
The anticipated policy launch in August will be open for public comment, overseen by the National Cybersecurity Committee for implementation and awareness accelerated by the Department of State Security.
Furthermore, a Cybersecurity Hub will be established in the Department of Communications (DoC) to regulate public and private sector information in an attempt to provide threat alerts.
Cwele emphasised the importance of collaborations, using the United States as an example.He appealed to the government to work with the private sector, academia, cyberwarriors and defenders to improve on cyberskills for facing the challenge cybercrime poses.