Namibia: staying safe in cyber space
By Johann van Rooyen, Senior Technical Advisor, Green Enterprise Solutions
Each time we access the internet on one of our many devices, including these days; cars, fridges and many other appliances and gadgets that have now become web-enabled, we compromise our security. Not on purpose, but hackers, viruses, data breaches and weak cyber security makes us and our personal information and data vulnerable and accessible to criminal elements. This is why government, companies and organisations that use ICT need to keep their and your data secure.
This is harder than it seems, as there are constant cyber-attacks from hackers and on companies, ICT-systems and even countries. Countries try to spy on each other through their IT networks and yet, at present only 50% of countries have a cyber-security strategy in place according to the United Nation’s Global Cybersecurity Index 2017, created by the UN's International Telecommunication Union (ITU). We as Namibians can be dismissive about hackers, the need for cyber security and our vulnerability online, but we do so at our peril.
As more countries beef up their IT-networks hackers wanting to do harm, spreading viruses and ransomware or steal data for their own gains start looking at countries that do not have robust cyber security in place. Sadly, this means that African countries are becoming more and more targeted every day. Our continent’s general lack of training, knowledge and limited resources means that a lot of basic IT-security processes are ignored or not invested in. This is somewhat of a generalisation. Of course major corporations, organisations, banking and telecoms giants all have state of the art security measures in place. However, the smaller companies may not have such secure networks and data leaks, breaches and online vulnerabilities could easily be exploited. Things are improving and as someone who sees online security and data protection as the basis of any computing activities, it fills me with joy to see that Namibia ranks high on the list of countries that are well prepared against cyber-attacks. Our little country with a small population ranks amongst countries like South Korea when it comes to our preparedness against attacks.
Despite Namibia’s relatively high ranking, it doesn’t mean we haven’t been targeted and compromised in the past. Which inevitably means unless we continue to remain vigilant and implement necessary upgrades and patches, we can expect to be hacked in the future. However, we are on the right track and that means keeping up-to-date is achievable.
It is something to be proud of and something to maintain. Having up to date and state of the art security and actively combatting cyber threats makes Namibia an attractive place to do business. It means we can position the country as a hi-tech and innovative place to do business, where a company’s and an individual’s data and information are secure. Criminals are exceedingly creative and won’t cease to try and attack, exploit vulnerabilities and get at data and financial information for example. We must remain vigilant and keep investing in our online security and keep cyberspace safe for all of us users.