Thursday, October 28, 2021

Botswana Gov’t needs to spend more on cyber security

Recent digital security attacks on major Governments across the world have also served to expose Botswana’s weaknesses when it comes to cyber security.

To their credit, Botswana Government reacted swiftly by pulling down many of their operations that are linked to the internet.

The downside of it is that during that period, Botswana Government was virtually shut.

During that time Government could not update its websites.

Many of the services like Death and Birth certificates were effectively shut down.

The lockdown made many of the many essential services effectively off bounds and in many other ways the Government was on a standstill.

In the end, Botswana Government decision to go offline was a wise decision.

While the decision allowed Government to play it safe, it otherwise highlighted Botswana Government’s vulnerabilities.

The problem though is that it will not be enough if Botswana government is identified as an active target.

Cyber warfare will be the next kind of war fought on a scale that is for now difficult to determine.

There are signs that future wars will be fought over the internet.

Future wars will not be fought killing enemy soldiers.

Such wars will be fought with no military hardware on sight.

The weapons will by and large be software, deployed by few people, who may or may not be state players.

Such wars will be fought disrupting an enemy’s energy grids, water systems, banking systems, transport systems, water systems and other vital infrastracture.

That is the reality of the world in which we live today.

That is exactly what Botswana faced a few weeks ago.

Government took a decision to shut down its internet connected systems as a security precaution.

That decision was taken as an admission that the county did not have strong defence walls to withstand the perceived threats.

Botswana does not have the kind of money needed to become a global player on cyber warfare.

But the country needs to step up its game.

A few years ago millions were allocated to what was called e-Government.

That money was lost to corruption by Government officials, especially at the office of the president.

With that money lost, an opportunity was lost to start ground work that will be necessary to build and ultimately beef up the country’s cyber defence systems.

Pulling down the Government’s networks as was done a few weeks ago when the whole world was under attack might work out for now as a precaution.

It is a temporary measure but one that is far from being an ideal defence system.

As a country, we need to approach this issue with an open and ambitious mind.

We need not only allocate resources to the effort, but also some of the country’s best minds.

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