Cybercrime Ventures predicts that cybercrime will cost the world upwards of US$6B by 2021. The increasing complexity of cybercrime coupled with the predicted acute shortage of 3.5M cybersecurity professionals by 2021 paints a grim picture.
Additionally, the emergence of the Internet of Things, heralding the Fourth Industrial Revolution presents lucrative opportunities for cybercriminals and a perfect storm for cyber defenders as we battle the increasing ease of access to crimeware and an increasingly complex legislative environment. The borderless nature of cybercrime exacerbates the situation making cyberrisk mitigation, and possible consequent prosecution, difficult.
A holistic approach to addressing this evident problem is necessary. Government, the largest consumers of technology in developing and developed countries, are often the last to be involved with effective cybercrime mitigation.
While government grapples with archaic legislative environments when trying to deal with agile and dynamic technology issues, business forges ahead with innovation. The driving force behind this is a need to be quick to the market, which often comes at the expense of security principles and practices. Researchers, on the other hand, continue their work in their ivory towers – mostly not interacting with either government or business. It is evident that constructive interaction between these three key players should be fostered to enhance South Africa’s cybersecurity posture.
While the veracity of ranking systems that place South Africa at the lower levels of Mathematics and Science education may be questioned, it is not disputed that we do rank lower than where we would like. Unfortunately, where we would rather be ranked low, we are often not. A case in point is the latest Ransomware ranking released by Statistica, where South Africa ranks uncomfortably close to the top, in 5th place. Our country ranks relatively high on other related indices as well.
The sectors most at risk, according to the Global Threat Intelligence Report published by Dimension Data, are finance and technology. It is likely that many of these risks, especially those in the financial sector, are driven by consumers who look for convenience, which overrides their perception of risk – as reported by Symantec. Social media, emerging technologies and the Blockchain revolution all contribute to the increasing pressures on policy makers and legislators to devise frameworks within which cybercrime can be controlled.
These issues are precisely those that will be explored at an upcoming cybersecurity summit scheduled for the end of June in Sandton.
Mark Thomas, the CTO of Dimension Data, and Sunil Varkey, the CTO and Chief Strategist at Symantec, are two of the keynote speakers at the Triple Helix cybeR sEcurity Africa summiT (THREAT 2019) where these and related issues will be discussed. Melissa Hathaway, the former cybersecurity advisor to President Obama, will also present a keynote address, as will Professor Marwala – the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Johannesburg.
The conference will be opened by the Minister of Communications and will feature an impressive group of leading cybersecurity practitioners and thought leaders from South Africa as well as Amazon Web Services and Facebook Africa, among others.
Two days of intensive plenary talks and panel discussions will include academic research presentations. Accepted papers have been double blind peer reviewed and selected papers will appear in the International Journal of Communications, published by the LINK center at Wits University, the academic partner to THREAT 2019.
Visit the THREAT 2019 website to learn more about this event.