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How Africa can prepare for cyber attack

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Online security is constantly evolving and organisations need to employ advanced tools to reduce security risks. DOROS HADJIZENONOS, Country Manager of Check Point South Africa, explains how organisations can mitigate threats.

Given the ever-increasing sophistication of cybercrime methods, organisations must employ advanced assessment tools and practices to reduce or eliminate security gaps. The first step to a successful security posture is to know what your current security network looks like. It’s hard to strengthen a security foundation when you don’t know where the weaknesses are.

Cyber threats have gained a lot of media attention recently, and the perception that Africa is not likely to experience cyber-attacks is false. Africa has one of the highest number of cyber-attacks, which have mostly targeted government websites in Nigeria, Ghana and Senegal over the recent months.

Basie van Solms, director of the Centre for Cyber Security at the University of Johannesburg, says that South Africa is lagging behind Africa when it comes to adopting a stable cyber security policy and that there is a lack overall of a cyber-security strategy and culture. The South African government has been criticised for not having a decisive policy and control over the growing problem of cyber-crime, which cost the country over R3.4 billion in one year alone.

South African organisations, therefore, have an even greater reason to ensure their networks and data are protected – and it starts with understanding where they’re at. Organisations need to do a comprehensive assessment, which will evaluate the current state of the security network in all areas, from network architecture and security infrastructure and policy, to monitoring capability and incident response readiness. It will identify potential vulnerabilities and highlight gaps in security resources, capabilities and infrastructure. By conducting this evaluation, organisations will generate the information required to design a blueprint for fundamentally secure operations.

Teams should begin by examining the network architecture by looking at ingress and egress points. Specifically, they’ll want to check how many there are, where they are and how they’re used, as well as how they are protected, managed and controlled. Having a complete understanding of ingress and egress points is vital to maintaining the health of the security network.

Next, understand what critical services are required to run day-to-day business operations. Are they protected? What controls are in place to protect their operation? What is the most sensitive data for the organisation? Is this data being protected, and how? What controls are in place to protect access and fidelity? They’ll also need to decide what data should be encrypted while at rest and while in motion, a critical factor in the event of data theft.

Evaluate the segmentation of the network. Is the network segmented? If so, is the network segmented properly to prevent easy access across large portions of the network?

It’s also important to check all of the security controls that are in place. Some key design considerations for all security controls include where they’re deployed, whether they’re in detect or prevent mode, and if they’re set to block known attacks. Teams should also check if the controls are integrated to support the entire security infrastructure and whether they support user identity.

* Follow Gadget on Twitter on @GadgetZA

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Welcome to world of 2099

The world of 2099 will be unrecognisable from the world of today, but it can be predicted, says one visionary. ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK met him in Singapore.

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Futuristic structures tower over the landscape. Giant, alien-looking trees light up with dazzling colours amid the hundreds of plant species that grow up their trunks. Cosmetic stores sell their wares via public touch-screens, with products delivered instantly in drawers below the screens.

This is not a vision of the future. It is a sample of Singapore today. But it is also an inkling of the world we may all experience in the future.

Singapore was the venue, last week, of the World Cities Summit, where engineers, politicians, investors and visionaries rubbed shoulders as they talked about the strategies and policies that would enhance urban living in the future.

As part of the Summit, global payment technologies leader Mastercard hosted a small media briefing by one of Singapore’s leading thinkers about the future, Dr Damian Tan, managing director of Vickers Venture Partners. The company’s slogan “We invest in the extraordinary,” offers a small clue to Tan’s perspective.

“We look as far forward as 2099 because, as a venture capital firm, we invest in the long term,” he tells a group of journalists from Africa and the Middle East. “Companies explode in growth because there is value in the future. If there is no growth, they won’t explode.”

The big question that the Smart Cities Summit and Mastercard are trying to help answer is, what will cities look like in the year 2099? Tan can’t give an exact answer, but he offers a framework that helps one approach the question.

“If you want to look at 81 years into the future, and understand the change that will come, you need to double that amount and look into the past. That takes us to 1856. The difference between then and now is the difference you can expect between now and 2099.”

Click here or on the page link below to read on: Page 2: Soldiers and Health in 2099.

  •    Arthur Goldstuck is founder of World Wide Worx and editor-in-chief of Gadget.co.za. Follow him on Twitter on @art2gee and on YouTube

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Street art goes electric

Kaspersky Lab and British street artist D*Face have unveiled the first-ever “art helmet” design at the Formula E finale for electric cars in New York.

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The ‘Save The World’ helmets will be raced by DS Virgin Racing’s drivers, Sam Bird and Alex Lynn, as they traverse the New York street circuit during the final races of the Formula E season.

The announcement signals the first art helmet by a Formula E team, continuing the heritage of art in motorsport and the cybersecurity brand’s commitment to contemporary art, creativity and innovation. D*Face took inspiration from Kaspersky Lab’s tagline, “A Company To Save The World”, and hopes that his colourful work will inspire people to take positive action.

D*Face will announce his first-ever art car design with a custom-made livery for the DS Virgin Racing Team. Its design will be released at the “Art Goes Green” event after Saturday’s race. The helmets and art car are the latest installations in the “Save the World” collection, following a major permanent public mural that was installed in Brooklyn, New York, in May.

D*Face, whose real name is Dean Stockton, said: “It is exciting to work with Kaspersky Lab on this project and create art with a real message of hope for a better future. After all, this is our world and we need to look after it. It will take every one of us to make a real lasting, impactful change. I love the mentality of the DS Virgin Racing Team and that of Formula E by showcasing sport in a way that doesn’t harm the environment, but is still just as exhilarating and fun.

“It is time for us all to stand together and make a change… be that stopping data steals, climate change, plastic waste or using damaging fuels. I want everyone to make a pledge to do one thing that will help make a change.”

As a sponsor of DS Virgin Racing Team, Kaspersky Lab is responsible for protecting the team’s devices against cyber threats. The company sees the technical environment in the global sport of Formula E as the next frontier in furthering its research and development of new technologies to keep vehicles secure in the digital world.

Sylvain Filippi, Managing Director at DS Virgin Racing, said: “The whole team fully supports this great initiative and our thanks got to Kaspersky and D*Face for their collaboration. It’s an honour to have such an innovative artist bring his talents to bear in our team ahead of the season-finale; the car, drivers’ crash helmets and mural all look amazing.”

Aldo Fucelli Pessot del Bo, Head of Global Partnerships and Sponsorships at Kaspersky Lab added: “There is a need for innovation on a global scale, both in contemporary art and in the fast-growing sport of Formula E. Now, for the first time ever, Kaspersky Lab is proudly bringing together the two sectors in an effort to Save the World and unleash creativity, encourage freedom of expression and further innovation.”

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