Cybersecurity Digital Alliance formed to strengthen cybersecurity in South Africa

The newly formed Cybersecurity Digital Alliance (CDSA) in South Africa is aiming to strengthen cyber defences in the country’s corporate sector.

The new cybersecurity forum brings together the various stakeholders in the local industry in their bid to tackle issues including defence, rapid response and managing the effects of cyber crime.

The alliance is being chaired by Kerissa Varma, the managing executive for cybersecurity at African mobile giant Vodacom. In an interview with CIO Africa, Varma said: “The alliance is built from the understanding that we are stronger together. That cybercriminals are diverse and driven, and in order to protect South Africa as a whole, we need cross-sector collaboration to make meaningful improvements in our cyber resilience.”

Recent research revealed that the country is currently experiencing almost 600 malware attacks per hour, according to the CSDA, and the trend looks set to increase across the next few years.

In a press release announcing the launch of the CDSA, another founding member detailed how the pandemic had weakened cyber defences in South Africa. Mandla Ngcobo, CIO at the Department of Public Service and Administration, said: “Cybercrime has become more prevalent in South Africa since the onset of the pandemic and the widespread move to working, learning and transacting online.”

The CDSA has set out its aims, across four main policy areas including mentorship, education and best practice sharing, events, and research. Whilst there are other organisations also aiming to reduce cyber attacks, Varma explained how the CDSA differs. She said: “There are a number of industry and sector level bodies that allow for collaboration and sharing of information. The CSDA is not industry specific or technology specific. It is a cross-sector body that aims to be completely inclusive.

“We have leaders from government, financial services, retail, telecommunications and academia as our governing members which ensures focus across a broad spectrum of South Africa.”

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