Good Governance and Virtue in South Africa's Cyber Security Policy Implementation

Good Governance and Virtue in South Africa's Cyber Security Policy Implementation

Oliver Burmeister (School of Computing and Mathematics, Charles Sturt University, Bathurst, Australia), Jackie Phahlamohlaka (Defence, Peace, Safety and Security, Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, Pretoria, South Africa) and Yeslam Al-Saggaf (School of Computing and Mathematics, Charles Sturt University, Wagga Wagga, Australia)
Copyright: © 2015 |Pages: 11
DOI: 10.4018/IJCWT.2015010102
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Abstract

Good governance from an ethical perspective in cyberdefence policy has been seen in terms of duty and consequentialism. Yet the negotiated view of virtue ethics can also address how nation states mitigate the risks of a cyber attack to their national interests and to prepare for a cyber offence in response to an attack. A discourse analysis of the “0x Omar”-Israeli conflict of 2012, as reported in the Arabic and English media and on the Internet, is used to explore ethical issues that this case raises and to examine how the risks posed could be mitigated in relation to relevant elements of the South African cybersecurity policy framework. Questions raised include: At what point does the policy require a nation state to prepare for a cyber offence in response to a cyber attack? Ethically, how are such actions consistent with the principle of good governance?
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2. Literature Review

Cyberdefence has grown in scope over recent decades, particularly as nations have taken steps to provide wider segments of their society with access to information infrastructure. There have been numerous instances of attacks on national infrastructure, such as the well publicised attacks on Estonia (Shackelford, 2009). As nations expand their national broadband capabilities, they become more attractive targets to cyber attacks (Phahlamohlaka, van Vuuren, & Coetzee, 2011). The ethical positions on cyberwar frequently focus on only two of the three major normative ethics theories. We begin with a view of the third, that of virtue ethics. Thereafter we examine three areas which define what is encompassed by the terms ‘national security’ and ‘cyberwar’, as well as showing how policies could act as mitigation strategies.

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