Mnangagwa's govt recruits personnel for cyber monitoring

By Staff reporter | 25 Nov 2019 at 07:23hrs
THE government has put in motion plans to begin surveillance and monitoring of cyber space after it advertised posts for key personnel to spearhead the project. This comes as the High Court has reserved judgment in a case in which the government was sued by two civic society groups over its shutdown of the internet in January when security forces clashed with protesters over fuel price hikes.

This also comes as public dissent against the government has increased on the back of a worsening economic environment.

After legal hurdles, Mnangagwa's government came up with a Cyber Crime, Cyber Security and Data Bill which seeks, among other things, to provide for penalties for transmission of data messages inciting violence and damage to property and for measures to address the production and dissemination of racist and xenophobic material.

In readiness for the promulgation of the Bill, the Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC) has started recruiting  people in the field of cyber monitoring, risk management and mitigation.
At the weekend the OPC advertised the posts of director and deputy director, National Cyber Security Network Operations Centre,  as the enactment of the new law looms.

According to the advert, the deputy director would "plan, implement and operate systems that can detect cyber-attacks on client systems before or during the attack, convey the unique requirements of high severity incidents, develop policies and protocols for hiring and building new processes, establish an efficient Security Information and Event Management (Siem) software system to analyse, log and event data in real time."

The deputy director would also provide reports from the Siem software on security related incidents and events such as successful and failed logins, malware activity and other possible malicious activities.

"Send alerts to Cyber Security Network Operations Centre (CSNOC) clients if analysis shows that an activity runs against predetermined rule sets and thus indicates a potential security issue. Update and maintain the systems on regular basis.

"Oversee day to day CSNOC operations, escalations, ticketing and communications with all customers. Generate key reports for the management, including, but not limited to system availability, service agreements, ticket resolution and customer issues.

"Responsible for managing outages, SLA, uptime, service availability root cause analyses. Collaborate with colleagues nationally and internationally on how to improve the effectiveness of incident handling," read the advertisement.

The director, cyber security, would have a supervisory role to: "Lead, guide and coordinate the strategic planning and implementation of the work for the cyber security centre. Tactical and strategic management of the cyber security centre.

"Manage the conduct of national cyber risk assessment and mitigation activities respect of the National Critical Information Infrastructure (CNII). Coordinate the conduct of national vulnerability analysis and create appropriate response handling."

The director would also contribute to the national cyber security strategy.

"Manage cyber protection of the CNII through responding to computer security incidents within government entities, providing the necessary services handle such incidents and supporting these constituencies to recover from the breaches of their systems," added the advertisement.

The director would also provide reactive services aimed at handling incidents and mitigating the resulting damage, alerts and warnings, incident analysis, response and coordination.

When Cabinet approved the Bill in October, then acting Information minister Mangaliso Ndlovu said it would also provide for penalties for persons who generate, distribute or broadcast data concerning an identifiable person knowing it to be false and intending to cause psychological or economic harm, curbing transmission of pornographic material and data protection with due regard to constitutional rights and public interest under the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (Potraz).

The  Bill gathered momentum early this year following the violence witnessed in January when heavily armed security forces clashed with protesters who were angered by the steep increases in the prices of both petrol and diesel.

Rights groups reported that at least 20 people were killed and more than 120 were treated for gunshot wounds during the deadly riots.
During the riots, State Security minister Own Ncube caused the complete shutdown of the Internet in a bid to curb support for anti-government strikes.

Meanwhile, the High Court has reserved judgment in an application in which the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights and the Media Institute of Southern Africa (Misa Zimbabwe chapter) are suing the government for the January Internet blackout.



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