1-5 December 2019
Africa/Johannesburg timezone
Note: Intel Keynote starts at 18:00 today (Monday)

Cybers Security Threats – Is Our Research Data Safe?

4 Dec 2019, 14:30




Isak van der Walt (University of Pretoria)


In a world where more and more people are connected every day, new systems pop up and
access can be gained from any device anywhere, we need to ask if the data that we are working
on (viewing, editing and manipulating) is original and safe? The value of data as an asset is
increasing as well as the potential threat in its transformative and informative power. The concept
and roll out of Institutional Repositories (IR) and Institutional Data Repositories (IDR) is fairly
mainstream in South Africa, hosting large valuable and often invaluable sets of data. In a
connected world, cyber threats are real and have to date caused harm to many organisations. Is
our data really safe and trustworthy in South Africa? South Africa has seen a dramatic increase
in the amount of cyber-attacks in 2019, with as much as a 22% increase in malware attacks
compared to 2018 alone. Malware attacks only form part of an array of cyber threats that are
carried out on a daily basis. In short, the answer is that no system is 100% safe against cyber
attacks, there are however systems and processes in place to increase and safeguard our data.

Today’s cybercriminal strategies target every link in the attack chain to gain access to resources
and data, exploiting them relentlessly. Holding data for ransom, modifying data, defacing of data
and selling of data are some of the perils that more and more organisations are facing when
breached. The key to safeguarding data is to ensure that policies, systems and procedures are
put in place to deal with the various links in the attack chain. This presentation will focus on what
is happening on an international and national level with regards to cyber security threats and how
it affects our research data. The presentation will also highlight the attack chain and what can be
done at the various linkages to make systems and organizations more secure.

Primary author

Isak van der Walt (University of Pretoria)

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