Hacking: Something must be done

Last week’s hacking of Mmegi Online, followed by that of Ngakaagae Mbikiwa Attorney’s may appear to some as something too distant to worry about.

However, every person who lives and works, or has a business interest in Botswana should worry. This is because hackers are heartless criminals who will not spare anybody. No, they will not spare the Government either. And therein lies the reason for Government to be greatly concerned.

This is because Government may wake up to find hackers have penetrated websites with state secrets, sensitive security and financial information. Bank of Botswana, Directorate of Intelligence Services, Botswana Defence Force, Civil Aviation, Botswana Police’s various wings; Immigration and Citizenship could all be penetrated. The call has never been more urgent.

Are we saying this because we were hacked? Yes; and as patriotic citizens, are merely playing our duty to advice Government that there is something to learn from our experience. We do not want this nation to wake up and find the Office of the President website turned into continuous music station. By hacking important national infrastructure, hackers put the lives of thousands of people at risk.

While Botswana has a Cybercrime Act, there is doubt over Government’s ability to track down and prosecute hackers. No government can ever achieve that single handedly. 

For with each passing day, the sophistication of the threat increases. Thus, our call is for government to work hand-in-hand with the private sector and NGOs to find ways of building better cyber defences for the nation’s critical infrastructure. It is important that Government creates a clear interface between its various intelligence and law enforcement agencies and units.

It then should create a seamless communication system between these agencies and the private sector and NGOs to ensure speedy tracking and prevention of hacking activities. Better systems to investigate, disrupt and prosecute cybercrime are needed.  It is only in working together with the private sector and NGOs that Government can ensure a safe and secure internet system for both national and economic well-being of the country. By working together, we can build a force to reckon with – a community of patriots who are eager to build a better Botswana for this generation and its posterity. While we are at it, Government needs to review its cyber security laws with a view to enhancing the law in terms of prescribed penalties. Surely a P40,000 fine or a two-year jail term is not much of a deterrent to a heartless terrorist.

Editor's Comment
What about employees in private sector?

How can this be achieved when there already is little care about the working conditions of those within the private sector employ?For a long time, private sector employees have been neglected by their employers, not because they cannot do better to care for them, but because they take advantage of government's laxity when it comes to protecting and advocating for public sector employees, giving the cue to employers within the private sector...

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