The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and a telecoms industry body − the Association of Comms and Technology (ACT) − have entered into a memorandum of understanding (MOU).
The agreement aims to advance diverse initiatives focused on accelerating technological innovations in cyber security, telecoms and fourth industrial revolution-related fields.
Additionally, it will result in the establishment of joint initiatives to strengthen the cyber security of mobile networks and safeguard customer data and privacy.
This includes joint efforts in researching and developing cyber security technologies, protocols and standards, according to a statement.
Dr Jabu Mtsweni, head of the information and cyber security centre at the CSIR, says: “The collaboration focuses on various interventions in the communications and telecommunications sector, including capacity-building and training, cyber security, data analytics and insights, spectrum management, industry development and others.
“These are meant to address digital transformation in the ecosystem, including supporting interventions for dealing with economic sabotage of physical and digital infrastructure, 2G/3G migration, spectrum social obligations, cost-effective energy solutions for the sector and country, as well as the development of the digital roadmap that includes future technologies with universal accessibility and connectivity.”
South Africa has recorded a number of recent high-profile cyber attacks on credit bureaus and several government departments, as well as highly-organised distributed denial-of-service attacks on banks.
The CSIR estimates financial losses of up to R2.2 billion per annum to the South African economy as a result of cyber crime.
As part of the MOU, the CSIR and ACT say they will enhance the skills and knowledge of network operators and CSIR staff. The objective is to cultivate a skilled workforce for the future, engaging in joint advocacy efforts and collaborative initiatives with regulatory authorities.
ACT CEO Nomvuyiso Batyi comments: “In the rapidly-evolving landscape of the telecommunications industry, socio-technical challenges stand as formidable obstacles. The intricate interplay between social and technological elements introduces complexities that demand innovative solutions. We witness the manifestation of these challenges, particularly in the transition from 2G to 3G networks.
“At ACT, we are unwavering in our commitment to finding viable solutions to ensure this migration doesn't leave anyone behind. Through dedicated research and development efforts, we aim to bridge the gap and facilitate a seamless transition for all users, ultimately fostering a more inclusive and connected digital future.”