Inside South Africa’s Cybersecurity Hub

MyBroadband was recently given the opportunity to visit the government’s Cybersecurity Hub.

The Cybersecurity Hub was established in 2015 by the Department of Telecommunications and Postal Services (now the Department of Communications and Digital Technologies) and is the National Computer Security Incident Response Team (CSIRT), which serves as the central point for cybersecurity incidents relating to the private sector, civil society and citizens of the Republic of South Africa.

Due to managing this type of information, the security measures one must undergo to enter the Cybersecurity Hub are rigorous.

This also meant that we were unable to take any pictures of the Cybersecurity Hub.

In order to respond to Cybersecurity incidents, the Cybersecurity Hub collaborate with relevant national, regional organisations, Computer Security Emergency Response Teams (CERTs), Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and law enforcement agencies

It is worth noting that these CSIRTs are voluntary organisations, and certain industries do not have a CSIRT under which it is covered.

When it comes to these incidents, the Cybersecurity Hub’s primary focus is not on resolving them itself; rather, it serves as an intermediary between the government and the private sector to ensure these incidents are dealt with swiftly and properly.

In industries where there is no regional CSIRT, the Cybersecurity Hub will work directly with the private organisation to whom the incident applies.

“The use of the word ‘hub’ in our name is a great indicator of what we do,” said Deputy Director General of the Department of Communications and Digital Technologies Tinyiko Ngobeni.

“We serve as a central point through which all the different stakeholders can communicate so that incidents can be solved effectively.”

Cybersecurity awareness

The Cybersecurity Hub is also tasked with raising cybersecurity awareness in South Africa, and Ngobeni told MyBroadband that this obligation is of equal importance in the Cybersecurity Hub’s mandate as its work with incidents.

To this end, the Cybersecurity Hub works to get its cybersecurity awareness messaging out to as many South Africans as possible.

For example, public-facing representatives of the team have been speaking about cybersecurity on community radio stations with a combined reach of approximately 5 million people.

Ngobeni also showed MyBroadband some education materials which are available both in physical and digital forms.

These materials are currently available in six of South Africa’s national languages, with versions using the other three languages being worked on at the moment.

The Cybersecurity Hub is also working on revamping its website to make it a more intuitive place for South Africans to receive valuable information about cybersecurity – both in terms of potential threats, and more general education on the topic.

To report a  cybersecurity incident to the Cybersecurity Hub, South Africans can mail this email address.

Now read: New laws for sending “intimate images” on WhatsApp in South Africa – How you will be affected

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Inside South Africa’s Cybersecurity Hub