Around 32% of small and medium enterprises in South Africa run the risk to fall bait to cyber and phishing attacks, Minister of Telecommunications and Postal Services, Siyabonga Cwele said in parliament on Wednesday.
Cwele was among cabinet ministers who were responding to questions about the economic cluster in government and he was responding to a question about the Cyber Security Hub that was launched in October last year.
IFP MP Liezl van der Merwe asked in a follow-up question if Cwele’s department has the capacity to prosecute perpetrators – even international ones. “Do you even have plans to form partnerships?”
Cwele said that government has indeed started collaborating with private companies. “But our banking sector in particular is vulnerable to phishing attacks. We’re a democracy and the more open we are as a democracy the more we become vulnerable.”
DA MP Marian Shinn grilled Cwele about his lack of involvement in the recently established Cyber Security Hub. “It was opened with great fanfare and it cost R11.7-million, yet you haven’t met with the advisory council once.”
The virtual hub was opened in October last year to combat cyber crimes, including phishing.
It was developed in a partnership with the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and the National Cybersecurity Response Team.
“The information gathered by the hub will be used to monitor cyber-attacks and provide warnings to stakeholders of emerging threats,” Cwele said at the time.
Update: The original report quoted Marian Shinn as saying that the Cyber Security Hub cost R11.7-billion to establish. However, Shinn said that it cost R11.7-million.