COMMENTARY: Is Botswana ready for cyber-attacks?

SHARE   |   Sunday, 22 March 2015   |   By Staff Writer

The technology revolution has taken the world by storm and there’s not a corner of the globe that has not been affected, let alone a corner of Botswana. Technology has brought about tremendous change in every aspect of our daily lives. It’s changed how we live, how we work, and how we relate.
Events of the past week where a video of young people involved in a threesome unprotected sex, which went viral on social media and was reproduced by some sections of the mainstream media, have brought to sharp focus the need by stakeholders to relook at the consumption of internet products.
While we trust that the law will take its course, we are concerned that the laws governing the use of the internet and social media may not be sufficient to address emerging challenges as they were promulgated a long time ago. The laws may be redundant or just failing to adequately curb abuse and violations of people's rights by some users. Even as the trio may be charged with offences related to the offensive video, many others who rebroadcast the video will go scot free.
Internet penetration in Botswana and the world over is on the rise, driven by the popularity of social media and new internet products such as online banking, bill payments and even e-government. We are living in a connected world where information is shared through organisations and consumers, and even between consumers. This means that everybody is now at risk.  So what? The impact can be more than just your money or identity being stolen, but attacks can also affect the national economies. This means that cyber security should be a big concern for government, the private sector and consumers. Now let’s get back to the big question; is Botswana Ready for Cyber Attacks?
Cyber-security requires a concerted effort from all stakeholders to ensure a secure cyber space and future for the country’s technological infrastructure. Government and other stakeholders must work together, sharing appropriate information as true partners, to curb cybercrimes. It is for this reason that we welcome this week’s conference on Cybercrime and hope it goes a long way in alerting the government and all necessary agencies of the need to proactively protect the country and its people.
Otherwise Batswana would continue to be lured through fraudulent online schemes into spending huge sums of money on fraudulent platforms and even be subjected to human trafficking crimes with false job offers that are easily trending on many sites online. People – in their desperate circumstances - are easily lured into applying for schools that do not exit and many other bogus schemes. While Government can educate nationals, it is at the end up to every individual to be extra careful in how they deal with new technologies particularly internet and its products. We shudder at the new wave of Facebook reporting where people involved in road accidents are easily flighted for the world to see even before their immediate relatives could be informed. We need to show care and responsibility in these circumstances. People should be extra careful with their personal tapes, interrogating whether there is any value in the first place to have such tapes in the beginning. As a nation it is the collective behaviour of all of us that will save us and as such ought to probe our friends, relatives and lovers to face up to the circumstances. Cyber developments effectively mean that secrets are being minimised; national securities cannot easily be guaranteed. People today hack into files of all forms including spying into the different countries’ army inventory.  We have to be aware of this and up our defence. 

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