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As cybercrime rises, security skills shortage grows



By MARCUS KARUPPAN, ICT Academy Manager at T-Systems South Africa

The PWC Global Economic Crime and Fraud Survey published in 2018 states that over a quarter of South African respondents believe that cybercrime will be the most disruptive, impactful crime faced over the next two years. This is especially alarming in the face of the continuing shortage of cybersecurity skills plaguing South Africa at a time when we need them most. 

The lack of cybersecurity skills coupled with the rising youth unemployment problem creates the ideal opportunity for South African businesses, education facilities and government to collaborate and fill both gaps. In fact, the ability to develop ICT skills within our borders could make South Africa a choice global provider of ICT and cybersecurity skills – if we address this now.

The in-demand skills

Despite the increase in ICT courses and academies across a range of disciplines, the skills required to operate, support and understand the complexities of next-generation technologies and today’s cyberthreats are still underdeveloped.

We are living in a world where cybercriminals are smart and are using the latest technologies to infiltrate networks and achieve their goals. To keep up with the threat landscape requires a deeper set of skills and insight into cybersecurity than we currently have enough of. The skills being taught are traditional security controls, typically around protecting the perimeter. This is still relevant, however as businesses digitally transform, moving to the cloud and investing in connected, smart technologies, security becomes far more complex. 

A level of data science knowledge, to understand the flow of data across digital platforms, is essential to today’s cybersecurity skills pool. Data no longer resides on-premise, and can be anywhere from various endpoints , to the cloud, to traversing across multiple networks. A deep understanding of where data is, coupled with understanding the threats at every point is necessary to ensure the adequate controls and technologies are put in place to protect it.

It’s also vital to be more proactive, than preventative, and the ability to quickly detect what is happening to a business’ data at any time is critical.

Recruiting for today’s requirements

Recruiting to fill a cybersecurity position is increasingly challenging for organisations. Many tertiary ICT programs focus on general computer science, covering the basics of cybersecurity. Experience is vital, yet school leavers lack the experience and businesses are reluctant to hire inexperienced individuals, creating a catch twenty-two situation.

As a country, we need to rethink the ICT education curriculum from as early as primary school, educating learners – who often possess some form of smart device from as young as ten years old – on cybersecurity and risks for their personal devices. Learners who are working on computers or tablets at school should learn how to protect the devices as well as how to use them, making risk awareness part of their sphere of understanding from a young age. This prepares cybersecurity professionals of the future, giving them a strong foundation to build on.

Training for the future

Beyond this, businesses and tertiary education institutions can be doing a lot more collaboratively to build the local skills pool. Learnerships, bursaries and apprenticeship-type programs for school leavers is one way to ensure that school leavers receive hands-on field experience, preparing them for the realities of the cybersecurity landscape and ensuring they are equipped to deal with today’s level of threats.

Often, students who enter the cybersecurity discipline find themselves confronted with a limited exposure to cybersecurity. They are often trained purely in one product or technology or exposed only to security policy frameworks. Students need to be given access to broader knowledge, that spans multiple technologies, products, policies and controls. They should also be exposed to the threats that are out there, giving them the ability to identify, understand and, thus, prevent them.

Businesses can also upskill internally, providing training and experience to those already within their organisation who display an affinity for cybersecurity skills. There are a number of online resources that businesses can employ to upskill and train internal employees to fill the gap. 

Creating the pool

South Africa is uniquely positioned to be able to become a global cybersecurity resource pool. We have comparatively inexpensive resources, and the cost of importing resources from our shores is not very high for Europe or the States. We also have access to world-class education resources and skills academies. It makes sense to use these resources to develop the skills of our unemployed youth and become the cybersecurity resource pool of choice, reducing unemployment, filling the skills gap and also making for a safer local cyber landscape all at once.


Appdate: No wallet? No problem?

In his app roundup, SEAN BACHER highlights VodaPay Masterpass, Charge Running, South African App Integrator Directory, uKheshe Health and LocTransie.



VodaPay Masterpass

Digital mobility is now a way of life and most are using smartphones to pay bills. 

To meet this need Vodacom and Mastercard have launched VodaPay Masterpass, which enables Vodacom customers to load any bank card into a secure digital wallet, downloaded as an app on their smartphone. Once loaded, these cards and the secure credentials associated with them are safely stored, enabling customers to start transacting immediately without the hassle of entering card details each time they make a purchase.

Vodacom customers can buy prepaid data, airtime and SMS, or voice bundles, directly through the app. They can also select the Pay Bills menu option to settle their DStv accounts, pay a utility bill or take care of a traffic fine.

With the app’s Scan to Pay functionality, users can scan a QR code to pay for goods and services wherever Masterpass is accepted, including all SnapScan and Zapper merchants. Once a QR code is scanned, users select the card they wish to use, and enter their bank PIN number on their own device to complete the transaction.

Platform: Android and iOS

Expect to pay: A free download and users will not be charged for any transaction fees.

Stockists:  Download VodaPay Masterpass for iOS here and for Android here.

Charge Running

Most running apps track data like pace and distance and, in some cases play audio designed to motivate you, but don’t give you the push you get when you run with a friend. Charge Running is an app that lets you run alongside other runners, virtually, as well as giving live coaching to help you go the distance.

The app includes features such as:

·       Unlimited access to live running classes and virtual races  

·       The ability to compete with runners anywhere in the world in real-time

·       A live leaderboard that shows where you are in the pack to keep you pushing

·       Live, personalised feedback from professional trainers 

·       Group chats with coaches and fellow runners throughout the run

·       On-demand runs for times when you can’t join the live groups 

·       A choice of difficulty levels and race types 

Platform: Android and iOS

Expect to pay: A free seven-day trial; thereafter R150 per month

Stockists: Visit the Charge Running site here for downloading instructions.

South African App Integrator Directory

The South African App Integrator Directory from Xero is designed to solve the complexity of choosing apps for small business owners.

The directory is now available in South Africa with six partners, including Realm Digital, Radical Cloud Solutions, Nimacc, Insights, Iridium Business Solutions and Creative CFO. According to Xero, these are all organisations with a proven track record of successfully integrating marketplace apps into Xero businesses. There are also currently over 700 apps in Xero’s App Marketplace worldwide, 21 of which are South African born.

As small businesses become more tech-savvy, they need to know exactly which apps to install on their devices and how the apps will help them. They also need to be able to install these apps from a trusted integrator so they know for what they are paying. 

Platform: Any device with an up-to-date Internet browser.

Expect to pay: A one month trial version is offered, after which the App Integrator ranges from R125 to R245 per month, depending on the company’s needs.

Stockists: Visit Xero here for downloading instructions.

Click here to read about uKheshe Health and LocTransie.

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Prize offered for drone films



DJI and SkyPixel, the world’s most popular aerial photography community, have announced the first short film contest inviting users to submit cinematic stories shot with camera and gimbal products. The 2019 SkyPixel Short Film Contest will accept entries until 14 October 2019. It welcomes submissions from all creators, ranging from hobbyists to social media users and professional videographers. around the globe.


The 2019 SkyPixel Short Film Contest consists of three storytelling categories—‘Big Moments Start Small,’ ‘Make Your Move’ and ‘Adventure Starts With You.’ There is no restriction on the type or brand of equipment participants use, and they can submit as many videos as they wish.

A total of 100 winners can win a range of prizes totaling $48,600 USD in categories including Recommended Films, Best Editing, Best Story, Nominated Entries, People’s Choice Prize as well as This Week’s Most Popular, sponsored by the partner SanDisk and WD brand from Western Digital Corp. This year’s Best Short Video winners will each receive the new Ronin-SC Pro Combo, Osmo Action as well as WD 2TB My Passport Wireless SSD.

Winning entries will also be showcased on the SkyPixel website as well as to DJI’s millions of fans and followers across its social media platforms.

“DJI has redefined how people capture stable video for all of life’s moments. The compact size, portability and powerful imaging system of our Osmo and Ronin series have also made it possible for anyone to take their creativity and inspirations to the next level,” said Basile David, Director of Brand and Content Partnerships at DJI. “With this contest, we hope to encourage more people to embrace and share their own creative way of storytelling.”

Since 2014, the SkyPixel online community has attracted 16 million professional aerial photographers and content creators from more than 140 countries, growing into the largest aerial photography community today. Over the past five years, SkyPixel has received over 150,000 submissions, becoming a go-to platform for original aerial masterpieces and extraordinary footage powered by other gimbal products focusing on various themes.

Details of the 2019 SkyPixel Short Film Contest

The short film contest consists of three categories:

Big Moments Start Small: Create a video showcasing the small, lightweight design of your camera device and your best cinematic scenes. Users are recommended to include at least 10 seconds of behind-the-scenes clips of their product such as DJI Osmo Pocket or other devices.

Make Your Move: Create a video showcasing the stabilized footage from your device. Users are recommended to include at least 10 seconds of behind-the-scenes clips of their product such as DJI Osmo Series or other devices.

Adventure Starts With You: Create a short, cinematic narrative film to showcase your creative skills and visual effects. Users are recommended to include at least 10 seconds of behind-the-scenes clips of their product such as DJI Ronin Series or other devices.

*Video submissions should not be longer than three minutes in length.

Submission Details

Submission Start Date: August 15, 2019, 2:00 AM (EST)

Submission End Date: October 14, 2019, 2:00 AM (EST)

Award Announcement: October 31, 2019

Interested participants can visit the 2019 SkyPixel Short Film Contest website for more information on contest rules and guidelines. For more information, contact:

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