As South Africa is a rapidly developing country and has become more increasingly technologically advanced through the growth in information communications technology (ICT) and the expansion of modern state infrastructure. With this growth more of the country's citizens have also become connected as access to the internet has spread. However, this advancement has also introduced a new challenge to South African national security in the form of cyber security. The spread of technology has created new vulnerabilities within the cyber domain that may directly work to undermine the country's security. Computer hackers are developing advanced software and methods designed to infiltrate and disable critical state infrastructure, capture confidential state or corporate information, engage in identity theft and fraud, rob banks and financial institutions and even undermine democratic processes such as elections. Terrorists have also embraced cyber space as a domain where they can recruit followers, spread propaganda, and provide advice and encouragement to those who wish to conduct terrorist operations. States are now not only creating cyber teams that can counter these terrorists but they are also developing cyber weapons which can be deployed to disrupt the operations of other countries should the need arise. This study analyses the challenge that cyber security poses to South African national security. This research contextualises the concept of cyber security within the theoretical understanding of national security. In highlighting the destructive capabilities of cyber attacks, the study provides detail on four examples, namely the 2007 attacks against Estonia, the impact of the Stuxnet worm on Iranian centrifuges in 2010, Chinese hackers targeting the USA and the hack on the Democratic National Committee. This then provides a foundation through which South Africa's cyber security position can be evaluated. The study also analyses several public cyber attacks that have targeted South Africa and presents a number of research reports which identify the country as one of the most targeted nations in the world. Although South Africa has acknowledged the role of ICT in its development, the country has failed to engage on the importance of cyber security. This study examines the country's policy progress with regards to cyber security which has ultimately lead to the Cyber Security and Cyber Crimes bill which was released for public comment in December 2015. However, the country's cyber position is weakened by its lack of cyber skills and capacity, as such the research also provides some recommendations on how South Africa can strengthen its overall approach to cyber security.
Mini Dissertation (MSS)--University of Pretoria, 2017.