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Building resilience against distributed threats at government level

Building resilience against distributed threats at government level

Bryan Hamman, Arbor Networks' territory manager for Sub-Saharan Africa, discusses where South Africa stands in terms of government awareness of DDoS threats, and activities that should be taken to protect business and enterprises from DDoS attacks

Bryan Hamman, Arbor Networks’ territory manager for Sub-Saharan Africa, discusses where South Africa stands in terms of government awareness of DDoS threats, and activities that should be taken to protect business and enterprises from DDoS attacks.

There’s no doubt that the United States is taking Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks seriously. In point of fact, the Secretary of Commerce and the Secretary of Homeland Security posted a draft report on January 5 this year entitled ‘A Report to the President on Enhancing the Resilience of the Internet and Communications Ecosystem Against Botnets and Other Automated, Distributed Threats’.

The report, which represents a request for comment from the industry, highlights the efforts needed to reduce the threats from automated distributed attacks.

The American Departments of Commerce and Homeland Security are pursuing three approaches, namely, hosting a workshop, publishing a request for comment (the report mentioned above) and initiating an inquiry through the President’s National Security Telecommunications Advisory Committee (NSTAC).

This is aimed at collecting input from experts and stakeholders, private industry, academia and civil society. The final draft will be based on the received comments before submission, which were due to US President Donald Trump on May 11 2018.

Arbor Networks decided it would be useful to ask where South Africa stands in terms of government awareness of DDoS threats, and activities that should be taken to protect business and enterprises from DDoS attacks.

Increasingly we are seeing that botnets – internet connected devices which have been infected with malware – are becoming a global problem. Botnets allow the attacker to access the device and its connection and can be used to perform DDoS attacks, steal data and send spam.

The owner can control the botnet using command and control (C&C) software. It is arguably an imperative, then, that this initiative by a US government department to investigate DDoS attacks be put into place.

Because South Africa is not immune from DDoS attacks, I would advise the necessity of investigating the issue of such attacks at government level in our country also.

I believe it is therefore heartening that ANC President Cyril Ramaphosa mentioned the pending establishment of a commission around the digital industrial revolution in his 2018 maiden State of the Nation Address (SONA).

Picking up on this theme during the Gauteng State of the Province Address (SOPA) in Johannesburg on February 26, a short while after Ramaphosa’s 2018 SONA, Gauteng Premier David Makhura also emphasised the impact that the fourth industrial revolution is having on the country’s economy in general, as well as on jobs.

We are still in the extremely early days of South Africa under the leadership of our new President, but it is heartening that, at both a national level and at the level of the Gauteng province – which is arguably the economic powerhouse of the country – we are seeing a political awareness and understanding of the importance of the digital world filtering through.

At Arbor Networks, we look forward to further information on the role that the government intends to play in empowering South Africa’s future in the digital revolution and are always prepared to offer input and support against cyberattacks as part of that digital preparedness.

 

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