Cyber Security Awareness as Critical Driver to National Security

Cyber Security Awareness as Critical Driver to National Security

Joey Jansen van Vuuren (Cyber Defense for Scientific Research, Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, Pretoria, South Africa), Marthie Grobler (Cyber Security Research, Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, Pretoria, South Africa) and Jannie Zaaiman (University of Venda, Thohoyandou, South Africa)
Copyright: © 2012 |Pages: 12
DOI: 10.4018/ijcwt.2012010103
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Abstract

In South Africa, cybersecurity has been identified as a critical component contributing to National Security. More rural communities are becoming integrated into the global village due to increased hardware and software corporate donations, the proliferation of mobile Internet devices and government programmes aimed at bridging the digital divide through major broadband expansion projects. The authors’ research shows that many of the new Internet users are not aptly trained to protect themselves against online threats, leaving them vulnerable to online exploits and inherently exposing the national system to potential international cyber attacks. This article works toward the identification of any correlation between the economic development and mobile use propensity of Internet users with regard to National Security. Internet penetration statistics are used in correlation with the economic development and exposure to technological advances of South Africans to classify participants in the surveys used into three groups: urban netizens, semi-rural netizens and rural netizens. South African citizens from areas within the Gauteng, Limpopo and Mpumalanga provinces participated in this study. Separate from these criteria, the availability of and access to the Internet via mobile phones is also taken into consideration. The article uses the results from the surveys to identify direct and indirect links between the factors in question.
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Introduction

With the proliferation of technology and networked devices through all scopes of life, cybersecurity awareness is becoming a more prominent driver in the positioning of National Security within a country. This article investigates the influence of cybersecurity awareness levels as driver towards National Security, based on a South African case study. The research is investigative in nature and aims to identify any connections between the level of cybersecurity awareness of different citizen groups as impacting the level of National Security within that group.

In South Africa, cybersecurity has been identified as a critical component, as noted by Palesa Legose, Director of Cybersecurity at the South African Department of Communications: “The government views cyber crime in a serious light, and therefore aims to launch an awareness programme and establish a National Cybersecurity Advisory Council (NCAC) in collaboration with the private sector, to step up the fight against cyber crime” (BiztechAfrica, 2012b). The importance of cybersecurity with regard to National Security is corroborated by Stella T Ndabeni, South African Communications Deputy Minister: “The Internet has also attracted illicit activities, commonly referred to as cyber crimes, which, in some cases, cannot only be detrimental to individuals, but [are] also capable of causing massive disruptions of economies of nations” (Moyo & Kayle, 2012).

Especially in Africa, rural communities are becoming integrated into the global village at a fast pace. This is in part due to increased hardware and software corporate donations from global organisations, but is also supported by the proliferation of web enabled mobile devices and government programmes aimed at bridging the digital divide through major broadband expansion projects. Comprehensive research conducted by the authors show that many of the new Internet users are not aptly trained to protect themselves against online threats, leaving them vulnerable to online exploits and inherently exposing the national system to potential international cyber attacks. This research will form the foundation of this study with the premise that cybersecurity awareness is an active driver towards National Security.

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