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May/June 2012 | Issue 4

conversations on security africa ready to host ska governing cyber crime getting smart stealing millions from government

exposing the modern hacker

DOC SHINES SPOTLIGHT ON ICT POLICY “Together, we have committed ourselves, ...to achieving 100% broadband penetration and creating one million jobs by 2020.� -Dina Pule

bringing the broadband

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www.sebase.co.za | (012) 664 - 5181

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Editor’s note Audra Mahlong

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root for the Proteas or Springboks when they’re up against the Warriors or the Wallabies – I’ve never found a concrete reason to dislike Australians. Aptly described as the world cup of science, the SKA project changed that for me. The numbers are staggering. I’m not only referring to the billions our government will be spending or the billions European countries have pumped into the project. The telescope gives real meaning to big data. The supercomputing capabilities which will be put to use and the new technologies which will have to be created all make it very exciting. Science is not sexy – but this project had me thinking just how incredible it would have been to be a scientist working on the initiative. And how Africa, and specifically South Africa, deserved to host the project.

Welcome I’ve always wondered where the rivalry between South Africa and Australia stems from. In my mind, the commonalities between the two countries should be uniting factors – not divisive. Both countries were colonised by the British; our legal systems are mainly based on English common law; both had gold rushes; we are both countries rich in mineral resources, but are big exporters; both have been plagued by years of institutionalised racism; our indigenous populations have largely been excluded from economic participation; and as southern hemisphere countries we both – relatively - lack access to major international markets.

Editorial Details

That’s just the beginning of our similarities. While my patriotism will always see me

We didn’t deserve it because of what some might call an aid-mentality – we deserved it because our bid was simply stellar. From where I’m sitting – we simply outshone Australia. And the SKA committee agreed. But it still seems that, for Europe, no matter how much Africa earns on merit – for a long time to come we’ll always be considered risky. Let’s Engage!

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Editorial director Nkhume Kudzingana Editor Audra Mahlong

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Contributing journalist Eugene Morokolo

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Contents .....................................................................................................................................................

5

DOC SHINES SPOTLIGHT ON ICT POLICY

18

SA is prepared to host cutting edge international science infrastructure.

The Department of Communications says its policy review should lead to tangible change and boost job creation.

7

22

EXPOSING THE MODERN HACKER Eugene Morokolo takes a look at hacking, its forms and hierarchy, to understand how cyber criminals are getting smarter.

9

23

INTEL HELPS POWER SKA

25

AFRICA ROUND UP

STEALING MILLIONS FROM GOVERNMENT

12

14

GOVERNING CYBER CRIME Audra Mahlong takes a look at laws governing cyber security.

26

South Africa’s bid to host the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) received a boost when Intel joined the project as a technology partner. Intel Business Development manager, Hannes Steyn spoke to SAITnews about the project.

IT News from all over Africa

SEBASE TECHNOLOGIES BANKS ON SECURITY Sebase Technologies has sets its eyes on playing a leading role in the ICT industry with special focus on IT security and a specialisation in end-point protection. Kagiso Setsetse, Managing Director, talks about the company’s ambitions and reveals its plans for the future.

Bringing the broadband Capacity from the West African Cable System (WACS) has gone live and expectations are high. Audra Mahlong looks at what to expect from the highly anticipated submarine cable system.

SA, AUSTRALIA SHARE SKA HOSTING

RESEARCH AND INNOVATION TAKE CENTRE STAGE By boosting its research chairs initiative, government is prioritising research, development and innovation in universities.

Eugene Morokolo looks at the cyber heists which highlighted government’s vulnerability to cyber criminals.

10

AFRICA IS READY TO HOST THE SKA

28

We take a look at the global scientific project and what SA’s commitment to the project actually means.

GETTING SMART A Smart City is a city that uses ICT as an enabler, to merge utilities, mobility, environment, education, governance, as well as smart people, smart living, smart health, smart planning and smart governance. Eugene Morokolo takes a look at two cities and their plans to become smart cities.

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DOC SHINES SPOTLIGHT ON ICT POLICY The Department of Communications says its policy review should lead to tangible change and boost job creation. words by Audra Mahlong

...................................................................................................... such as increasing the number of female executives and attracting younger women in ICTs. We also need greater investment in local research, development and innovation. This advancement has to be achieved in an environmentally friendly manner,” said Pule. For Pule, the policy review must lead to an overhaul of all legislation in the sector. But it’s not superficial change she’s after. “This review has to remove aspects of legislation that are irrelevant and are hindering economic growth and social cohesion while ushering in elements that are important now and those that will be significant into the future. Given this challenge, we couldn’t afford to have a piecemeal approach to a review process that would allow us to only close policy loopholes in existing legislation and not lay a foundation for a prosperous and progressive future, enabled by ICTs.”

DINA PULE MINISTER OF COMMUNICATIONS

Building a developmental state

Government has set ambitious goals for ICT development and access. And it now knows that achieving 100% broadband penetration and creating one million jobs by 2020, will not happen without broad and effective change.

While the Department of Communications (DOC) works to create a national ICT policy environment that can compete with global powers – the focus of the review is on human development.

Despite having some of the most sophisticated ICT infrastructure in Africa, the country has continued to struggle with access, usage and service. A large proportion of the population is still disadvantaged with very low ICT service levels - a reality which current Communications minister, Dina Pule, hopes will be changed with a comprehensive review of the ICT policies tasked with driving development.

For Pule, it has become increasingly important to align ICT policy and regulations with governments priorities of fighting crime and corruption, rural development, creating sustainable jobs and improving health and education. “In other words, the final policy has to be aligned to the government’s developmental goals and address challenges that this industry faces

Pule noted it had been 18 years since South Africa attained a free, non-racial and non-sexist and democratic society. During this period, the government introduced key policies to accelerate the provision of basic services such as water, houses, health and education in the Republic, thereby ensuring a better life for all people. Early policies aimed at attaining universal access to ICTs by all South Africans. These policies also aimed to ensure that telecommunications, broadcasting and postal services were accessible. The Telecommunications Act of 1996 as well as the Electronic Communications Act of 2005 were enacted and further

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led to the partial privatisation of Telkom and further liberalisation of the telecommunications market through the licensing of more telecommunication companies to provide services to our people. In 1998, the White Paper on Broadcasting was adopted – leading to the creation of the broadcasting system seen today. In April 2012, the department hosted an ICT Policy colloquium – which is hopes would result in the formulation of the White Paper on Integrated National ICT Policy and take cognisance of the challenges facing the sector. “Now digital broadcasting is upon us, which poses new opportunities and challenges,” Pule admits. Taking on the challenges With the growth of broadband and the move to digital broadcasting, the department now faces a new set of challenges. “We have therefore prioritised the need to address the ICT policy environment in the country such that it addresses existing challenges and takes us to the year 2030...As the department, we are committed to moving with speed in ensuring that we conclude all the legislative and Parliamentary requirements for developing policies by the end of next year and start implementing these policies in 2014,” Pule revealed. Pule added that government understood that policies need to be realigned towards a developmental state. This would mean creating concise and unambiguous strategies on broadband, and the department’s investment in broadband infrastructure. “We expect to consolidate all policy on broadcasting services in the digital environment; broadband and internet access; spectrum licensing framework for the country’s development; new regulatory areas in all of these; funding and investment; e-Skills development; local content development and ICT market growth.”

“Together, we have committed ourselves, through the signing of the ICT Industry Competitiveness and Job Creation Compact, to achieving 100% broadband penetration and creating one million jobs by 2020.” The public-private partnerships For Pule, it is key that the policy review is consultative, open, transparent and progressive. “We are doing this fully aware of our responsibility to lead and regulate this sector. Our actions should not be construed as an abdication of that noble responsibility because we are merely choosing to include all our stakeholders in this policy development process,” she explained. She added that through engagements with stakeholders, government departments, big and small operators, state-owned enterprises, civil organisations, labour and international ICT players – it had become clear what needed to be done to propel the country into an advanced information society and knowledge economy. “We are doing this in the comfort of knowing that we have solid partnerships within government and with the industry, labour and civil society. An indicator of the healthy state of these associations is the Vision 2020 partnership between us and the industry. Together, we have committed ourselves, through the signing of the ICT Industry Competitiveness and Job Creation Compact, to achieving 100% broadband penetration and creating one million jobs by 2020.”

Raising questions Pule noted the policy review needed to question how investment in local electronics manufacturing could be influenced as well as how government would ensure that rural connectivity becomes a reality in the rollout of broadband internet. Technology transfer should help meet the demand for technologies and fair competition in the market which would lead to the lowering of communications costs, was also critical, she added. Between 2003 and 2005 South Africa’s average ICT expenditure as a percentage of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was 9.13%, among the highest rates in the continent. The sector contributed 4.3% to the GDP in 2008, a rate that is lower than the world average of 5.4% contribution. The comprehensive policy review should focus on providing universal service and access; transforming the ICT sector while gearing it to create jobs; ensuring real and effective competition; building responsive and effective institutions and ensuring affordability of ICT services. “As we summon our resources to tackle this challenge, we must always be mindful that the policies we create need to assist us to fight poverty and underdevelopment, reduce unemployment and provide basic services such as health and education to our people. All this has to evolve in a sustainable and environmentally friendly manner. This can only happen if our national ICT policy addresses the value chain in the ICT sector and positions it for a prosperous future for all of our citizens.”

“...the policies we create need to assist us to fight poverty and underdevelopment, ...and provide basic services...to our people...”

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EXPOSING THE MODERN HACKER Eugene Morokolo takes a look at hacking, its forms and hierarchy, to understand how cyber criminals are getting smarter.

words by Eugene Morokolo

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DANIEL COHEN HEAD OF KNOWLEDGE DELIVERY & BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT, RSA THREAT SERVICES

Hackers have evolved into a wellorganised modern mafia that is crushing small businesses, defrauding banks of billions globally and crippling governments. With everyone a possible target – government is increasingly realising the need to demand more from their IT and defend themselves better with new, modern techniques that emphasise protecting departments and the information they guard.

The increase of hacks is at times attributed to availability of hack tools found in the hacking underworlds. Organised criminal syndicates are also increasingly recruiting technologically skilled individuals contributing to a surge in cyber attacks.

Modern hacking operations range from “simple” phishing campaigns aimed at gaining access to private bank accounts, to highly sophisticated APT attacks designed to penetrate and control entire computer networks and systems. As business and social transactions move According to Daniel Cohen, head of Knowledge Delivery & Business online, cyber crime has increasingly Development for RSA’s threat services, come under the spotlight across the hacking is the act of gaining unlawful globe. Easier to commit compared to access to ecomputer-based systems by traditional crime as it takes place from a remote location, cyber crimes often leave exploiting certain weaknesses. no physical trace and have less risk of physical injury.

Weaknesses can relate to limitations found in IT infrastructure and - with the ubiquity of social media - the weakest link today tends to be the human-factor. “Sure, we all picture a computerscreen lit room with a hacker working feverishly to crack the access password, but in today’s world, socially engineered attacks—such as dropping a disk-on-key in a corporate car park, that someone will surely plug into their computer—are the most prevalent, allowing hackers to gain access quickly and with relative ease,” Cohen explains. According to Cohen, today’s hackers can be identified through 4 groups, namely, individuals; organised crime gangs; hacktivists and nation states.

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Weaknesses can relate to limitations found in IT infrastructure and - with the ubiquity of social media - the weakest link today tends to be the human-factor. Individuals This group contains the vast majority of hackers as we know them, ranging from script-kiddies— individuals with little or no experience in computer hacking— to highly skilled software/hardware engineers. Script-kiddies have a limited ability to execute attacks and will most likely purchase their wares in the underground and execute attacks based on a supplied manual or online tutorial. They are links in the cyber-fraud chain and are in it for the quick, albeit low, return. The highly-skilled hackers, on the other hand, are in it mostly for the prestige though money plays a major role. They are the ones developing the software that sustains the fraud eco-system. Members include: Slavik the notorious developer of the most widely distributed Trojan - Zeus; Harderman the developer of SpyEye (which recently merged with Zeus) and other small teams such as the one behind the newest Zeus-based Trojan - Citadel. These individuals make their money not by operating the botnets, but rather selling the infrastructure in the fraud underground. Organised cyber crime gangs These gangs demonstrate in-depth knowledge of computer software and systems, and are capable of developing sophisticated proprietary software to advance their malevolent efforts.

They maintain complete control over their activities, rarely allowing outside hackers access to their operation. As with organised crime, they are in it for the money and large returns due to their complete control of the fraud chain.

when businesses are most susceptible, Cohen explains that modern day cyber fraud is as a service-based market place, offering its patrons a wide array of services to facilitate their every hacking need.

Hacktivists

This includes Trojan building and compiling; malware infection services; bots for hire; and cashing-out services. Cohen explains that to support it all, the FaaS (Fraud-as-a-Service) marketplace offers an abundance of help and user forums.

These are a step-up from organised cybercriminal gangs, and - in most cases - take advantage of morals and ideals to carry out their activities. Said activities— depending on the beholder—range from fairly moral to grossly criminal. A good example of this would be, the WikiLeaks release of Syrian President Assad’s correspondence: Do you consider it a criminal act of email hacking or a moral act aimed at publicising the “real face” of the presidency?

“This creates a flat, non-hierarchical environment in which no single entity holds complete control of the fraud chain, and in turn allowing hackers to specialise in specific aspects and monetize based on them. A hacker could specialise in deploying phishing attacks, but would not know how to transfer the In the future we see Hacktivists taking money out of his victims’ bank accounts.” a more mainstream approach, targeting entities which public opinion has deemed Instead, Cohen explains, he would bad, while factions continue with morally- sell the stolen credentials to another fraudster or hacker who specialises in doubtful activities. We will also continue cashing out victims accounts. to see the growing trend of exposing personal, sensitive information relating to executives at the head of those targeted “Cyber crime gangs may maintain complete control over their own entities (doxing). operations, but for the vast majority of hackers it’s a free market with very low Nation state entrance barriers.” The last and most powerful type of hacker is the nation state. They are capable of extremely sophisticated and very well resourced attacks that fall under the category of advanced persistent threats (APTs). The aims of the nation state are many and include reconnaissance and intelligence gathering to gaining complete control over key/essential computer systems. The Stuxnet worm, for example, which was designed to attack specific Siemens control systems—systems which are at the heart of the nuclear enrichment process in Iran—was described by many as being backed and supported by a nation state due to its level of sophistication and complexity. Cyber fraud hierarchy With a growing number of attacks taking place over holiday periods and at times

The highly-skilled hackers, on the other hand, are in it mostly for the prestige - though money plays a major role. They are the ones developing the software that sustains the fraud eco-system.

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STEALING MILLIONS FROM GOVERNMENT Over the last few years, several government departments have been hacked. Though in some of the hacks no money was involved during the hack, institutional damage was done – raising questions on the security of government organisations. Eugene Morokolo looks at the cyber heists which highlighted government’s vulnerability to cyber criminals. words by Eugene Morokolo

...................................................................................................... on different occasions but only managed get R2.84 million before his activities were detected. The consultant from the IT company T-systems – previously Arivia - was appointed to perform functions on the payment systems but managed to gain additional access which enabled him transfer funds to his personal bank account. Land bank – Multi-million rand heist

Postbank hack: Syndicate steals R42 million The Postbank suffered a R42 million cyber heist earlier this year. The cyber crime syndicate launched its operations on New Year’s Day and the theft happened over three days after they gained access to a Rustenburg Post Office employee’s computer and made deposits from other accounts into their own. Over a three day period, ATMs in Gauteng, Free State and KwaZulu-Natal were used to withdraw cash from the accounts. The heist hit the Postbank hard as it currently holds over R4 billion in deposits; processes millions of rands in social grants throughout the year and was in the final stages of a process which would see it compete with the four major commercial banks in the country. The theft happened three years after the bank spent over R15 million to upgrade its fraud-detection service.

The bank gave assurances that customer funds were not compromised by the incident and three people linked to the theft were charged and sentenced in March. Water affairs: Consultant arrested The Department of Water Affairs (DWA) laid criminal charges against an IT consultant who attempted to steal R2.8 million from the department’s account last year. The DWA says that while initial attempts to commit the theft were rejected by its internal electronic systems – it would not take harsh action against the perpetrator. The department committed to rooting out all forms of corruption said it would do all it could to recover the R2. 8 million. According to the department an investigation revealed that the consultant had tried to transfer large sums of money into his personal bank account

A similar cyber attack was carried out during the Christmas season in 2010 this time affecting the Land Bank. Staff at Absa noted a sudden flurry of suspicious transfers on Christmas Eve from the Land Bank and froze the accounts – stopping a multi-million rand swindle. It was believed the thieves had set themselves a target of R150 million, creating more than 30 dummy companies with scores of fake accounts. R8 million was fraudulently transferred and the bank managed to recover most of it – except for R380 000.As in the case with the Post Bank, only a select group of personnel had access to internet passwords to do electronic banking for the Land Bank. The gang obtained secret Land Bank passwords by hacking into the banks IT system. Once in, they set up instructions for funds to be transferred to scores of companies – specially set up for the ruse – with accounts opened at Absa, the Land Bank’s official banker.

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GOVERNING CYBER CRIME Audra Mahlong takes a look at laws governing cyber security. words by Audra Mahlong

...................................................................................................... for everyone to register all new and existing cellphone numbers and is one of government’s key crime prevention initiatives.

While laws governing cyber security have been in place for a number of years, a fully comprehensive policy dedicated to cyber crime has only recently been drawn up by the Department of Communications. This has meant that in the absence of a policy dedicated to cyber crime - government has had to rely on information from industry on network security; legislation governing various aspects of cyber security; as well as, institutional structures such as the regulator, ICASA and the Films and Publication Board regulations. ECT Act Through the Electronic Communications and Transactions Act, several matters related to cyber security are governed. This includes regulations on facilitating electronic transactions; cryptography services; authentication services providers; consumer protection; the protection of personal information; the protection of critical databases; Domain Name Authority and administration; as well as allowing for the establishment of a cyber inspectorate. While regulations on facilitating electronic transactions were reviewed

last year – clauses in the Act provide for the legal recognition of data messages and records, removing barriers to electronic transacting. Provision is also made for the legal recognition of electronic signatures and it also deals with the rights and obligations that follow from the communication of data messages. The Act also provides for the validity of sending notices and other declarations of intent through data messages. Under the ECT Act, a Cryptography Provider Register can be set up by the Department of Communications to assist law enforcement in their investigations Consumer protection provisions have been superseded by the Consumer Protection Act – while personal information clauses will be superseded by the Protection of Personal Information Bill, which is currently under debate in Parliament. RICA First introduced in 2002, the Regulation of Interception of Communication Act (RICA), makes it compulsory

With the support of electronic communication service providers, South Africa has a database of 50 million registered telemetry, data and voice subscribers with their physical address. In terms of the Act, the minister of Communications is responsible for issuing directives to determine manner in which electronic communication service providers must make their systems interceptable and store information; as well as prescribing technical, security and functional requirements of interception facilities and devices. POLICY AND LEGAL FRAMEWORK Legislation that has a bearing on cyber security. National Convention Arms Control Act (Act 41 of 2002) Electronic Communications and Transactions Act (Act 25 of 2002) Electronic Communications Security (Pty) Ltd Act (Act 68 of 2002) Regulation of Interception of Communications and Provision of Communications Related Information Act (Act 70 of 2002) State Information Technology Agency Act (Act 88 of 1998): Conventional Arms Control Regulations (R7969 of 2004) Cryptographic regulations (R 8418, of 2006)

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Bringing the broadband Capacity from the West African Cable System (WACS) has gone live and expectations are high. Audra Mahlong looks at what to expect from the highly anticipated submarine cable system. words by Eugene Morokolo

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With the inauguration of the West Africa Cable System (WACS) in May, SA has welcomed yet another high capacity submarine cable system to its shores. The 17 200 km ultra-high capacity fibreoptic submarine cable system spans 14 countries and links Southern Africa and Europe, spanning the west coast of Africa from Cape Town, South Africa, and terminating in London, United Kingdom, with a total of fifteen landing points. WACS LANDING APRIL 2011

The 4-fibre pair system has a design capacity of 5.12 Tbps, of which about 500 Gbps were lit on launch. The system makes use of both 10 Gbps and 40 Gbps technology on different segments. WACS is the first submarine cable system ever to make use of Generalized Multi-Protocol Label Switching (GMPLS) to provide advanced in-system restoration of wavelengths, increasing network resilience. Impressive. But what will the $650m submarine cable system actually achieve. Calculating costs The recently introduced submarine cable is expected to help to lower the cost of broadband access and allow the delivery of innovative applications such as e-education and e-health. While operators agree that increased capacity from the now live cable system would eventually lead to price cuts – they all note that this would take time. Members of the WACS committee noted that considerable price cuts

JOHAN MEYER EXECUTIVE, GLOBAL BUSINESS CAPACITY, TELKOM

WACS FIBRE CABLE

would only be realised years after the launch of the cable system.

Vodacom Group and Vodafone Spain.

The WACS consortium members are Angola Cables, Broadband Infraco, Cable & Wireless Worldwide, Cabo Verde Telecom, Congo Telecom, MTN Group, Portugal Telecom, SCPT (DRC), Togo Telecom, Tata Communications / Neotel, Telecom Namibia / BTC, Telkom SA,

For Johan Meyer, executive for Global Business Capacity at Telkom, this process could take up to five years. Meyer notes that while the speed of connectivity and services will improve drastically, price cuts would be introduced gradually as infrastructure upgrades and roll-outs take precedence.

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Visible impact While price cuts won’t be immediate, the impact WACS is set to have on services will be more directly visible. Telkom recently kicked off its network transformation program which will see it roll-out 3700 remote multi-service access nodes (MSANs) that will replace 2700 older generation cabinets and add another 1000 to their number. Meyer emphasises that the investment in WACS would enable the faster delivery of data, voice and convergence solutions – while completing its submarine cable portfolio. For Telkom the introduction of WACS to it’s undersea cable portfolio will complete the second ring of capacity around the African continent. The S3WS, EASSy and SMW3 cables already form a ring around Africa. With the introduction of WACS together with EASSy and EIG a high capacity ring between SA and Europe has now been formed. Boosting Africa The volume of capacity from WACS is expected to contribute to further fostering broadband development, giving impetus to African economies and helping to increase the standard and quality of life of its citizens. Michael Ikpoki, CEO of MTN Ghana, says the capacity from WACS would help spur the growth of broadband in African markets. Ikpoki notes that while data penetration is still low, the availability of high-speed broadband would enable and unleash opportunities and support business and government to do things differently and cheaper. MTN has an 11% stake in the highcapacity submarine cable system and has invested $90 million in the project. While the company has launched LTE pilot sites in South Africa, technology advancements in the rest of the region still continue to lag behind.

Ikpoki notes there are strong growth opportunities for different areas and that the investment in WACS would bring many benefits, including the lowering of mobile broadband and communication costs. Linking globally For participating countries WACS represents the start of affordable, higher speed connectivity; the lowering of

WACS represents the start of affordable, higher speed connectivity; ... and the introduction of innovative applications such as e-education and e-health. broadband costs and the introduction of innovative applications such as e-education and e-health. For Neotel, the addition of WACS to Neotel’s international connectivity will increase the availability of reliable high capacity bandwidth to Western Europe and the Americas – allowing the operator to optimise its international costs by carrying traffic on cost-effective routes and enable the future expansion of its bandwidth. Each of the cables that land in SA connect Neotel into the Tata Communications global submarine cable network, providing the company with direct access global infrastructure. According to Angus Hay, GM for Strategic Business Development at Neotel, the introduction of capacity from WACS would boost the operators Internet, telepresence and video streaming services.

UNDERSEA CABLES OVER THE YEARS • 1968 - SAT1 From Melkbosstrand (SA) to Sesimba (Portugal) Length of cable: 10 500 km Movies you could download per second: 360 Voice ccts • 1993 – SAT2 From Funchal (Madeira) to Melkbosstrand (SA) Length of cable: 9 500 km Movies you could download per second: 0.11 • 1999 – SMW3 From Normandy (Germany) to Okinawa (Japan) Length of cable: 39 000 km Movies you could download per second: 44 • 2002 – SAT3/WASC/SAFE From Sesimba (Portugal) to Penang (Malaysia) Length of cable: 27 850 km Movies you could download per second: 88 • 2010 – EASSy From Mtunzini (SA) to Port Sudan (Sudan) Length of cable: 10 000 km Movies you could download per second: 280 • 2011 – EIG From Bude (UK) to Mumbai (India) Length of cable: 15 000 km Movies you could download per second: 768

“For Neotel, this means that our customers are highly unlikely to experience downtime since we have the flexibility to move traffic from one cable to another in the event of any cable failure. We remain committed to enabling business in South Africa through efficient and cost-effective telecommunications,” Hay explains.

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SA, AUSTRALIA SHARE SKA HOSTING We take a look at the global scientific project and what SA’s commitment to the project actually means. words by Audra Mahlong

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The long and eagerly awaited announcement regarding the site for the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) radio telescope has finally been made. After nine-years of work by the South African and Australian SKA site bid teams, the independent SKA Site Advisory Committee (SSAC), identified - by consensus - Africa as the preferred site. However, in order to be inclusive, the SKA organisation has agreed to consider constructing one of the three SKA receiver components in Australia. Two will be constructed in Africa.

On the basis of its analysis of technical, scientific and other factors, the SSAC unambiguously and by consensus found in favour of the African proposal, as well as the African implementation plans and cost factors. Consequently, the SSAC recommended South Africa and its partner countries as the preferred site for the SKA. South Africa, with its eight partner countries – Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia and Zambia – have been working on the bid to host the SKA since 2003.

The SKA project is a global scientific enterprise to build one of the largest scientific instruments ever envisaged. It is being designed to answer fundamental questions in physics, astronomy and cosmology in order for us to understand the origin and workings of the Universe better, and to reveal new and unexpected phenomena that will enthral and challenge us. What is the SKA? The Square Kilometre Array (SKA) will be a mega radio telescope, about 100 times more sensitive than the biggest existing radio telescope.

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The SKA will consist of approximately 4 000 dish-shaped antennae and other hybrid receiving technologies. It will have a core of several hundred antennae and outlying stations of 30 - 40 antennae spiralling out of the core. These stations will be spread over a vast area - up to 3 000 km. The combined collecting area of all these antennae will add up to one square kilometer. What will the SKA do? This mega telescope will be powerful and sensitive enough to observe radio signals from the immediate aftermath of the Big Bang. It will search for Earth-like planets and potential life elsewhere in the universe, test theories of gravity and examine the mystery of dark energy. A prime objective of the SKA is to probe the so-called “dark ages”, when the early universe was in a gaseous form before

This mega telescope will be powerful and sensitive enough to observe radio signals from the immediate aftermath of the Big Bang. It will search for Earthlike planets and potential life elsewhere in the universe, test theories of gravity and examine the mystery of dark energy.

stars and galaxies were formed. Scientists are optimistic that the SKA will allow many new discoveries about how the universe was formed and what it is made of. How will the SKA work? The SKA will detect electromagnetic radiation (radio waves) and cosmic rays emitted by extremely distant celestial objects (such as stars and galaxies).

Where will the SKA be built? The SKA must be built in a remote area, as far away as possible from man-made radio interference which is caused by sources such as cellular masts, radio broadcasts and air traffic navigation signals. Both South Africa and Australia have suitably remote, radio quiet areas for hosting the SKA.

In South Africa, the core of this giant telescope will be constructed in Because electromagnetic radiation travels the Karoo region of the Northern at a fixed speed of about 300 000 km per Cape Province near to the towns of second, very distant objects are observed Carnarvon and Williston, linked to a as they were in the distant past. This computing facility in Cape Town. will allow astronomers to “look back in time” to observe the early stages of the evolution of the universe.

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However, the SKA is so huge that outlying stations will be spread over several African countries, including Namibia, Botswana, Mozambique, Zambia, Mauritius, Madagascar, Kenya and Ghana.

Who will build and pay for the SKA and how much will it cost? SKA is a â‚Ź1.5 billion project, with operating costs of about â‚Ź100 million a year. At least 24 organisations from 12

The SKA must be built in a remote area, as far away as possible from man-made radio interference which is caused by sources such as cellular masts, radio broadcasts and air traffic navigation signals. Both South Africa and Australia have suitably remote, radio quiet areas for hosting the SKA.

SKA PROJECT TIMELINE 2024 - Full science operations with Phase 2 2020 - Full science operations with Phase 1 2018-23 - Phase 2 construction 2016-19 - Phase 1 construction 2013-15 - Detailed design and preconstruction phase 2012 - Site selection 2011 - Establish SKA organisation as a legal entity 2008-12 - Telescope system design and cost 2006 - Short listing of suitable sites 1991 - Concept (Data courtesy of www.skatelescope.org)

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THE POWER OF THE SKA TELESCOPE The data collected by the SKA in a single day would take nearly two million years to playback on an iPod. The SKA central computer will have the processing power of about one hundred million PCs. The SKA will use enough optical fibre to wrap twice around the Earth. The dishes of the SKA will produce 10 times the global internet traffic. The SKA will generate enough raw data to fill 15 million 64 GB iPods every day! The SKA super computer will perform 1018 operations per second – equivalent to the number of stars in three million Milky Way galaxies – in order to process all the data that the SKA will produce.The SKA will be so sensitive that it will be able to detect an airport radar on a planet 50 light years away. The SKA will contain thousands of antennas with a combined collecting area of about one square kilometre (that’s 1,000,000 square metres!). (Data courtesy of www.skatelesecope.org)

countries, including Australia, Canada, India, China, France, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Spain, South Africa, Sweden, the Netherlands, the UK and the USA, are involved.

Europe is expected to fund 40% of the project, with a comparable amount from the USA. The balance will be funded by the other countries involved in the project. When will the SKA be operational?

SKA is a €1.5 billion project, with operating costs of about €100 million a year. At least 24 organisations from 12 countries, including Australia, Canada, India, China, France, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Spain, South Africa, Sweden, the Netherlands, the UK and the USA, are involved.

The SKA will be built in phases. It is expected that construction will start in 2012, with significant collecting area in place by 2015 and the full array completed by 2021. South Africa and Australia are building “pathfinder” telescopes to develop and test the technology and science for the SKA. These are both due for completion in 2012 and will be extremely powerful, new generation radio telescopes.

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AFRICA IS READY TO HOST THE SKA SA is prepared to host cutting edge international science infrastructure. words by Eugene Morokolo

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Winning of the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) bid is to science, what winning the World Cup bid was to the footballing fraternity. For Dr Jasper Horrell, General Manager for Science Computing and Innovation, SKA SA – multibillion dollar SKA project is being aptly described as the World Cup of Science. “An excellent job has been done in SA in response to development of the bid and the actual site. In addition, we have seen people’s perceptions about Africa and its capabilities change during the course of our engagement with them. We remain very confident of a good outcome for

Africa in this process,” Horrell says.

and build the new telescope.

Winning the SKA bid would see SA host the largest and most sensitive radio telescope array ever built. To host such a facility would build on success stories such as SA’s hosting of the 2010 Soccer World Cup and change people’s perceptions about what is possible in Africa.

“This is a major mind shift over more dated views of the African continent. A major contribution will be the mind shift about Africa as a place of innovation rather than Africa as only a place of natural resources. Of course, in addition, jobs and supporting industry will be created in development and on-going support of the array,” he explains.

Africa is ready Horrell says Africa is ready to host and support cutting edge international science infrastructure. He adds that Africa is now in a position to lead some of the innovation required to develop

A project of this magnitude requires certain aspects and contributors in all spheres, Horrell states. “It takes an open mind.You also have to have good people, you need to be able to

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accommodate the diversity of views that naturally come with a large international project and somehow still keep a sense of where you can add value to it all. The project is very large, technically and organisationally complex, but these things present themselves in bite-sized chunks. So it is step-by-step.” Horrell says the SKA bid announcement will be so big that it will take time for it to sink in should SA win. “Even after the site decision is announced, it is likely to take quite a few months for its implications to be explored and understood…First off, we can expect increased attention from the world in terms of scientific and technical focus. I suspect we can also expect increased interest in areas of high tech industry.” According to Horrell the SKA Organization itself is embarking on a design phase ahead of the first phase of construction over the next couple of years - however, we expect to be contributing heavily towards the SKA design phase and continuing with the roll-out of the MeerKAT telescope (a 64dish SKA precursor and major scientific instrument in its own right) in the Karoo during this period.

It is a pretty good time to be an aspiring scientist, particularly if your interest lies in the area of astronomy/ astrophysics, astronomical instrumentation or associated engineering

The age of supercomputing

associated engineering, Horrell says.

The scale of SKA, as currently envisaged, puts it right up there near the top of the world’s data processing challenges. So, according to Horrell, a big IT problem will need to be solved.

“There are, for example, opportunities to engage in and contribute to the various science programmes linked to MeerKAT, and likely to be formed for SKA. In addition, there is funding for studies available through a number of programmes. We run a large Youth into Science human capital development programme that has supported about 400 grants to date (at all levels postschool),” he explains.

The SKA will need something close to the world’s most powerful computing platform around the time that it is built, and this presents challenges in terms of algorithm and software development, data storage, cost, power and cooling provision in remote sites. There will also be technical challenges in terms of cost effective design and manufacture on the scale of thousands of antennas. So, it is a fairly big deal. “For example, some of the leading IT companies are engaging with the SKA now since it pushes the boundaries of what will be required for the next generation of computing platforms,” Horrell says. According to Horrell supercomputing in the county will also improve. “Clearly, having large computing installations in SA, required for the telescope can only be healthy, but it is hard to answer as it is not clear at this stage how contracts will be placed for SKA construction (presumably some sort of international tender process).” “More tangible is that projects such MeerKAT and SKA influence the direction and establishment of research clusters which tend to be focused where the action is happening. The funding for this research comes from both the public and private sectors. For example, we have engagements with several large IT companies focused on the next generation of computing and techniques. This means that skills are already being developed within the country. It is very helpful here to have a real project to focus on. He says. Aspiring scientists It is a pretty good time to be an aspiring scientist, particularly if your interest lies in the area of astronomy/astrophysics, astronomical instrumentation or

Horrell says they set out to show that Africa could do it and they have especially with greenfields. “We find ourselves leading many of the areas required to develop and build and operate SKA. We have developed an excellent greenfields radio-quiet site. We have designed and built a 7-dish radio telescope (KAT-7) on our Karoo site and have designed and are building MeerKAT. We have built up expertise and international contacts. The HCD programme has been very successful. There have been a lot of successes. Of course, we are also right up there in final stages of the site decision process after submitting an excellent bid,” Horrell notes. He adds that they have developed a number of technologies to support the telescope. “One of the most visible of these is the FPGA-based ROACH board, part of a collaboration originated at UC Berkeley which we now find ourselves leading. This is a computing board which is suited to some high speed first stages of telescope computing and is generic in the sense that it can be reconfigured to be applied in a number of domains, not necessarily in radio astronomy,” explains Horrell. Value for money? Horrell says some people question why SA is spending money on mission-driven projects such as the SKA when there are still so many basic needs to be met in the country. “Many people, however, understand that [as does government] a country needs

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high tech skills, development and exciting initiatives as well as the provision of basic needs. Keeping balance as a nation requires on-going attention,” he argues. Horrell says it is difficult or impossible to say how much the whole project can bring to the country but admits the benefits are huge. “Hosting such a facility is bound to have advantages in terms of construction and particularly operations for the host country. One can also factor in associated spend in research and industry. I would not like to put a number on it, but others may be braver,” he said. The bid has some of the heavyweight IT companies in the world as partners and he says the support from the private sector has been great. “Yes, we have excellent support from some of the heavyweight IT companies, but I think they are interested in the project as a whole, no matter where it

“Hosting such a facility is bound to have advantages in terms of construction and particularly operations for the host country. One can also factor in associated spend in research and industry ends up. We certainly welcome such support and engagement as I am sure our counterparts do in other parts of the world. This is healthy all round.”

The MeerKAT The MeerKAT array is a world-class radio telescope designed to do ground-breaking science. It will also be the largest and most sensitive radio telescope in the southern hemisphere with 64 dishes of 13.5m diameters each until the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) is completed. Close to 100 young scientists and engineers are working on the MeerKAT project. Based at the engineering office in Cape Town and at universities and technology companies across South Africa and Africa, these researchers interact closely with SKA teams around the world. By collaborating with South African industry and universities and global institutions, the South African team has developed technologies and systems for the MeerKAT telescope, including innovative composite telescope dishes and cutting-edge signal processing hardware and algorithms. The MeerKAT serves as a pathfinder for the cutting-edge technologies of the SKA. Phase one of MeerKAT - the construction of the first seven dishes – will be completed on site in the Karoo. An offset dish configuration has been chosen because its unblocked aperture provides uncompromised optical performance and sensitivity, excellent imaging quality, and good rejection of unwanted radio frequency interference from satellites and terrestrial transmitters. It also facilitates the installation of multiple receiver systems in the primary and secondary focal areas and is the reference design for the SKA concept. The MeerKAT supports a wide range of observing modes, including deep continuum, polarisation and spectral line imaging, pulsar timing, and transient searches. A range of standard data products are provided, including an imaging pipeline.

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Dimension Data drives100% pass in maths and science grades through its Saturday School and E-Learning programmes “COMPANY RESPONDS TO THE CALL TO IMPROVE MATHS AND SCIENCE RESULTS AT SCHOOLS” In accordance with the Government’s initiatives and the needs of communities in South Africa, Dimension Data has placed a key focus on furthering education with a particular emphasis on Mathematics and Science. The company’s flagship Socio Economic Development Initiatives in the education sector includes the Saturday School programme and the E-Learning centres. The Dimension Data Saturday School programme is a two year initiative that benefits 100 grade 11 and 12 pupils from 21 disadvantaged public high schools in Gauteng each year. The learners in the programme come from schools in Alexandra, Diepsloot, Steeldale, Thokoza, Thembisa, Turffontein, Florida and Brixton. The programme empowers the learners through the provision of weekly supplemental tutoring from 08h00 15h30 for 45 Saturdays per annum. Learners in the programme attend classes in Mathematics, Physical Science, Life Sciences, English, Computer Studies and Soft Skills. Furthermore, the grade 12 learners are placed on a one year mentorship programme which assists in preparing for tertiary studies. To date the Saturday School programme has yielded 100% pass rates over the past 16 years and has reached over 760 learners. Of particular interest is the stellar achievement of the programme in attaining a 100% pass rate for Mathematics and Physical Science. Volunteer staff members continue to teach learners Computer Skills and mentor the Grade 12 learners. Amongst the top performing learners was Tumelo Mogale, who in 2010 achieved eight distinctions, with a 100% pass in Mathematics and Physical Science. He is currently studying towards a degree in Electronic Engineering at the University of Pretoria. He was amongst the top performers in the country last year and was personally congratulated by the Minister of Higher Education, Dr Blade Nzimande. In the class of 2011, Eric Mubai was the top student and achieved four As, 100% Mathematics and 96% Science. Eric will be studying BSC Mathematics at Wits University. He was amongst the top performers in South Africa and was personally congratulated by the Minister of Education on his outstanding performance in the exams. Eric’s performance made the headlines. The Sunday Times reported on his great Maths and Science results. Dimension Data has a partnership with the University of Pretoria through their Junior Tukkies Empowerment Programme. In the programme, learners attend a career guidance

session with qualified psychologists to evaluate their skills and competencies in order to identify key areas of development and to determine whether they are ready for degree studies. The Saturday School initiative also includes the Winter School Programme for the matric learners in preparation for their end of year exams. During this programme, learners attend lessons on material not covered in the Saturday School syllabus to assist them in their final matric exams. A subsidiary initiative to the Saturday School is the Bursary programme. It was introduced in 2006 with the purpose of affording learners the opportunity to further their studies at a tertiary Institute of their choice. To date the programme has funded 19 Saturday School learners to attend the University of their choice and complete an undergraduate degree. Some of these young people have now joined the company’s Graduate Programme. Zanele Phungwayo, who graduated from the Saturday School in 2007 with four distinctions, was awarded the Dimension Data Bursary and went on to study BCom IT at the University of Johannesburg. She graduated in 2011 and is currently participating in the Dimension Data Graduate Programme in the Services division. The National E-Learning programme is based on the success of the Dimension Data Saturday School and the company’s intention to extend the vision of benefitting more underprivileged learners. It is Dimension Data’s belief that technology can be used to rapidly improve the quality and effectiveness of education in disadvantaged communities. E-Learning was established in 1996 and provides multimedia learning to over 27,500 learners nationwide enrolled at 51 partner schools. The E- Learning curriculum covers English, Mathematics, Life Science, Physical Science and Accounting. Dimension Data has broken new ground through the use of technology to supplement and enhance the academic potential inherent in the learners.

Dimension Data continues to align itself with the initiatives of Government and the needs of the communities by delivering innovative programmes and solutions that help increase economic growth and sustainable development for all. The company’s goal is to reach 40,000 learners by 2015 through its National E-Learning initiative. Education is a top priority for Dimension Data and the company has touched 27,500 learners through its e-learning programmes, across 51 schools. Furthermore 3,000 educators have been trained on the E-Learning Management Tool System. The company continues to invest in a series of innovative projects, among others, the E-Learning initiative and the creation of digital cities. This includes Dimension Data’s pledge to provide technology access and skills training to 40 000 learners by 2015 - with an emphasis on young people that have previously been underserved by technology. About Dimension Data Founded in 1983, Dimension Data plc is an ICT services and solutions provider that uses its technology expertise, global service delivery capability, and entrepreneurial spirit to accelerate the business ambitions of its clients. Dimension Data is a member of the NTT Group. www.dimensiondata.com Contact Details For further information: Barbara Muzata Communications Manager Dimension Data Middle East & Africa Office: +27 (0) 11 575 4814 Cell: +27 (0) 71 249 5467 barbara.muzata@dimensiondata.com

The Dimension Data E-Learning Management System is currently implemented in 51 schools across seven of South Africa’s provinces. These are: • • • • • • •

Gauteng Western Cape Eastern Cape KwaZulu Natal The North West Province Limpopo Free State

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BEE Compliance Manager, Dimension Data Middle Issue 4 | page 21 East and Africa.


RESEARCH AND INNOVATION TAKE CENTRE STAGE By boosting its research chairs initiative, government is prioritising research, development and innovation in universities. words by Eugene Morokolo

...................................................................................................... programme. The programme is managed by the National Research Foundation. The additional research chairs will be introduced during the 2011/12 and 2013/14 Medium Term Expenditure Framework – with special consideration being given to the universities of technology, rural based institutions and those that have not participated in the programme. The Developmental Chairs Initiative consists of two secondary initiatives. The FirstRand Foundation Mathematics Education Chairs Initiative which focuses on improving the quality of mathematics teaching in public secondary schools particularly in previously disadvantaged areas.

As research and innovation becomes increasingly important, the Department of Science and Technology (DST) says it will award 60 new research chairs to various institutions of higher learning taking the total number to 154. The department says chairs had been awarded in direct response to the five priorities of government. The South African Research Chairs Initiative (SARChI) is a government initiative designed to attract excellence in research and innovation in the South African. SARChI’s was introduced in 2005, and government has already invested over R1.1 billion in the

And secondly is the South African Numeracy and Literacy Chairs Initiative, with its focus on improving the quality of teaching and learning of numeracy and literacy at primary education level. While there have been debates around the quality of maths and science, the department says it is hopeful that the standard will improve drastically. According to the department the main goal is to strengthen the country’s universities to produce high quality postgraduate students, research and innovation outputs. In addition to the nine existing chair in the area of Square Kilometre Array (SKA), one chair was awarded in this area, giving a total of ten seats in SKA related area.

Research and development Last year the DST allocated a total of R4.4 billion to boost Research &Development - with the Technology Innovation Agency (TIA) getting over R400 million. A bulk of the amount is to be used for priority research areas such as global change; health innovation; biotechnology; science and technology for poverty alleviation; engineering and applied technology; and an open category that includes fundamental disciplines, and scarce and critical knowledge fields will be given special attention. Research and innovation greatly rely on the availability of the infrastructure and quality of the network of any country. The DST will spend a further R78 million to extend the South African National Research Network (SANREN) connection to rural sites, including the remaining six higher education institutions that are unconnected. In the last financial year SANREN was extended to 107 institutions, including two major global scientific projects, the Southern African Large Telescope (SALT) and the SKA pathfinder, the MeerKAT. SANReN is a high speed network that aims to connect more than 200 research and tertiary sites around the country with one another as well as with international research and education organisations around the globe.

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INTEL HELPS POWER SKA South Africa’s bid to host the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) received a boost when Intel joined the project as a technology partner. Intel Business Development manager, Hannes Steyn spoke to SAITnews about the project. words by Eugene Morokolo

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“Winning the SKA will be as big as winning the Soccer World Cup as the country will see a huge development and influx of specialised human capital into the country with the influx of scientists and engineers who will work on the instrument”

HANNES STEYN INTEL BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT MANAGER

South Africa is in the final stages of its bid to host the billion dollar Square Kilometre Array (SKA) project. If SA wins the bid, the large radio telescope will propel Africa into the spotlight as the continent is set to be the home for much scientific and technological advancement which will come with the project.

“It will be many years before the SKA becomes fully operational. To be part of a project spanning so many years, commitment up to the highest level of the organisation is required. It also requires resources, ranging from people with highly specialised skills and the latest technologies available,” said Steyn.

Steyn says they are delighted to have partnered with the SKA – saying the partnership will see Intel contribute specialist resources to assist in code optimisation for execution on the new technologies made available for the SKA South Africa team.

Winning the SKA will be as big as winning the Soccer World Cup as the country will see a huge development and influx of specialised human capital into the country with the influx of scientists and engineers who will work on the instrument.

Intel says it is grateful to have gotten an opportunity to be part of the bid which required skills and resources.

“We will see a massive boost for the South African IT industry as the computing resources behind the

instrument will be the largest nonmilitary installation in the world, putting South Africa on the forefront of the supercomputing industry,” Steyn says. In technical terms the SKA bids numbers are mind blowing and its technical abilities are astonishing. When fully operational, the dataflow generated by all the antennas will exceed the total data flow on the Internet today. To process this amount of data a new breed of supercomputer will be required. “To give an example, this computer will have to be more than 500 times faster than todays top 500 computers combined. In technical terms, this is what we refer to as Exascale computing and the SKA will require a solution that

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performs at about 2 Exaflops and more,” explains Steyn. Should South Africa win the bid, the supercomputing industry also stands to win big time. This will in turn increase research capabilities and innovation. “The High Performance Computer (HPC) that will be installed at the SKA will be the fastest non-military computer in the world,” Steyn notes. However, he adds, it is not really possible to build this system with the technology available today due to related constraints such as excessive power requirements, costs etc. “These are, however, driving innovation and development at an exceedingly accelerated pace with the aims of dramatically increasing the performance per Watt and leading to the development of new technologies to specifically address the requirements of HPC environments; as well as the development of new storage solutions to address the massive and high speed data requirements of the instrument.” Research and innovation will happen broadly and not only on the computing front as high-tech projects such as this will draw the best scientists and engineers from all over the world. Steyn says a major benefit of this will be that a significant amount of local expertise

will remain in the country to do research on this instrument rather than leaving the country to do the same research in other parts of the world. “As Intel we already have some innovative new technologies in the SKA South Africa labs which are already showing some great success in advancing the set objectives. One such technology is the Intel Many Integrated Core (MIC) architecture which is well suited towards the type of processing required for this environment. This technology consists of more than 50 cores per CPU and specifically addresses the challenges brought by massive parallel type processing requirements,” says Steyn.

The SKA’s data traffic flows will exceed those of the entire internet as it is today. Many of technologies that the SKA will use have not yet reached the maturity required or have not even been developed.

According to Steyn an important goal of the whole project is to reach out to young, future scientists in the country.

is for a computer that is more than a 1000 times more powerful than the “To achieve this, the country’s fastest computer today. The SKA’s data universities will form key partnerships traffic flows will exceed those of the with SKA South Africa to gain access to entire internet as it is today. Many of research grants and bursaries awarded by technologies that the SKA will use have the SKA South Africa project” not yet reached the maturity required or have not even been developed. One of the most debated topics in South Africa has been skills or lack of therefore. “Being exposed to the latest cutting However Steyn is optimistic, saying the edge technologies available from Intel successes demonstrated by the local and seeing these technologies achieves SKA team show that any skills shortages success has been an unforgettable are not a hinderance to progress. experience. If SA wins the bid, the satisfaction of having the fastest The SKA will consist of up to 3000 radio computer in the world in SA will be very antennas. The processing requirement rewarding,” he said.

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AFRICA ROUNDUP

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tunisia Recent cyber-attacks which have targeted the Tunisian Prime Minister’s email account and the official website of the Ministry of Justice have raised concerns in the Tunisian government. The government’s program for 2012, presented by Prime Minister, Hamadi Jebali, to the Constituent Assembly in April included a focus on improving Internet security by hiring new experts at the Ministry of the Interior. Hafedh Ben Hamida, IT security engineer and cyber crime specialist, explained that the National Agency for Computer Security has been working on fortifying the defenses of the Internet in Tunisia since 2004.

KENYA

nigeria The National Information Technology development Agency (NITDA), has reiterated its commitment to fostering the development and growth of Information Technology (IT) in the country. The agency said this would be achieved through its three-pronged approach of human capital development, infrastructural development and institutional capacity building. Speaking on the activities of the agency, DG, Cleopas Angaye, said the approach would be supported by various initiatives, awareness campaigns, workshops and conferences. Some of the initiatives of the agency include the New Partnership for Africa Development (NEPAD) e-school initiative, mobile Internet unit, Nigerian Cybercrime Working Group as well as the CANi project.

RWANDA Banks and telecom companies that offer financial services through technology and money transfers through mobile phones, are increasingly becoming targets for cyber criminals. Whereas Rwandan banks and telecom companies report that the rate of cyber crime is still very low, there are still no policies protecting companies from cyber criminals. Banque Populaire du Rwanda (BPR), which has invested in electronic banking, says it has not experienced any cyber attacks on its network for almost four years. However, it says it is increasing security on its network by deploying firewalls to protect its clients and systems from intruders.

Plans by Kenya to host a regional anti-terror training centre, are attracting global attention as the East Africa Community mulls over ways of fighting terrorism and cyber security. Plans are underway to upgrade Kenya’s Administration Police-run Rural and Border Patrol Unit into the main training hub for security officers in East and Central Africa. Government officials said the United States and United Kingdom have expressed intentions to fund the project, which is the latest in a string of projects pursued by the region to combat cyber crime.

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SEBASE TECHNOLOGIES BANKS ON SECURITY Sebase Technologies has sets its eyes on playing a leading role in the ICT industry with special focus on IT security and a specialisation in end-point protection. Kagiso Setsetse, Managing Director, talks about the company’s ambitions and reveals its plans for the future. words by Eugene Morokolo

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What role do you see the company playing in the ICT sector? We have given ourselves the responsibility of informing and teaching our clients about the importance of securing critical information and staying ahead of attacks and malicious intent from the outside world. What initiatives or projects are you looking to implement? We are planning to implement projects such as Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) and Data Loss Prevention (DLP). These are solutions that organisations need to be educated. Not having proper IT security measures in place is dangerous for any organisation in today’s environment. What have some of the highlights been so far?

KAGISO SETSETSE MANAGING DIRECTOR, SEBASE TECHNOLOGIES

What is the strategic focus of the company?

What are the key objectives for the year?

The company intends to embark upon opportunities in both private and public sector and assist them with the challenges they are facing regarding data leakage and securing critical organisation data.

Our objective is to emerge as the best and leading black owned IT security organisation in South Africa providing the best and most trusted solutions.

Sebase Technologies has created huge awareness throughout the industry by doing demonstrations at potential clients and also catering for the Small Medium Business (SMB) industry by providing them with customised solutions that protect and suits the size of the organisation. We have also been awarded an opportunity to implement a Mail Security Gateway Solution to the National Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries for a period of Three years. This has proved to us and the industry that we can compete at all levels.

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Larger organisations have processes and procedures, they have a lot of clients and thus clients don’t feel prioritised. With us, we are able to do what they can’t we react quicker to requests, we are able to make decisions quicker that benefit our clients instead of going through processes and procedures.

What would you like to see the company achieve?

to compete with larger enterprises you would most definitely have to match or even be ahead with regards to skills.

To be the leading provider of IT security solutions to the private and public sector. As a small business, what do you think is essential to ensure you can What targets have you set for the compete with bigger corporations? company? As a smaller organisations there are Reaching set targets by penetrating both market challenges. However, our size allows us to react faster to client queries public and private sectors is our major and problems and our relationship with target. Other targets include providing clients becomes stronger as we give the best solutions for our clients; ensuring a return on invest; increasing ourselves enough time to understand the size of the company; and giving back our clients. to communities. Larger organisations have processes and What factors will help you achieve procedures, they have a lot of clients and company goals? thus clients don’t feel prioritised. With us, we are able to do what they can’t - we react quicker to requests, we are able Training is crucial in our industry to make decisions quicker that benefit especially as technology evolves rapidly our clients instead of going through and as a SMB we have to keep up with processes and procedures. the offerings and stay ahead of any disrupting changes. We believe in achieving the highest possible certifications to give our clients Without proper training, this is the best and earn their trust as we almost impossible. Technology OEM continue to achieve milestones and grow does require certified skills within an organisation in order to give recognition the company. to service providers. Most importantly

Any new areas you looking to expand into? Expanding our sales forecast into the Finance and Banking industry is where we are heading. What have been some of the challenges thus far? For every Small Medium Business, the challenge is always keeping the best and certified skills within the company. We have chosen to employ candidates with vision and drive who understand what value the business brings to the country’s economy. What are the company’s short term goals? To certify our candidates and ensure we have experts with the highest skills level on the solutions we offer.

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GETTING SMART A Smart City is a city that uses ICT as an enabler, to merge utilities, mobility, environment, education, governance, as well as smart people, smart living, smart health, smart planning and smart governance. Eugene Morokolo takes a look at two cities and their plans to become smart cities. words by Eugene Morokolo

...................................................................................................... “Broadband networks are clustered in the main urban economic nodes, effectively excluding township areas, informal settlements and non-urban or agricultural areas. This has been characterised as the digital-divide that mirrors the broader socio-economic disparities that have been bequeathed by the apartheid system to contemporary South Africa,” notes the GDS draft. In an attempt to encourage community participation in discussions about technologies that will make the lives of residents easier, the project aims to highlight the provision of affordable technology under topics such as traffic management and Wi-Fi technology advancement, among other initiatives.

JOHANNESBURG With a draft Growth and Development Strategy (GDS 2040) intended to drastically change the state of the city, a wave of technology to turn Johannesburg into a smart city is in the pipe line.

from a combination of concepts and technologies which enhance energy efficiency, water and waste management and contribute to the conservation of resources.

The city says should this technological Executive mayor, Parks Tau, has dream be achieved, it could make a huge emphasised the need to build a smart difference to schools in disadvantaged city, saying it was crucial for development. areas and enable the provision of broadband internet access at libraries Tau highlighted what analysts had been and other city-owned community noting for years – that technology could facilities. be used to address the developmental agenda of the city. He explained that However, the city acknowledges it may modern, state of the art technology well take the next three decades to solutions could be used to address achieve this aim, however. Currently, the fundamental issues such as safety, city says only 15% of households in the security and health – while improving communication between government, the country have access to computers and even fewer have access to the internet, public and the private sector. although - according to the GDS 2040 draft - a significant minority enjoy highThe draft GDS 2040 lays out the speed access via corporate networks, city’s plans to redefine itself as an domestic connections and the wireless environmentally friendly city created 3G networks.

“The idea of a ‘Smart City’ is predicated upon the idea that the optimal deployment of information and communications technology (ICT) can play a critical role in a city’s development; and indeed, it may permit ‘leapfrogging’ to take a city to a qualitatively higher state of development.” Already the City, in cooperation with the private sector, is rolling out a high-speed fibre optic network to parts of Joburg that have traditionally been underserviced, says the city. The plan suggests that broadband access will, in the future, become a human right enshrined in the Constitution in the same way as access to water and shelter. “This is the case because it provides information, enables access to services and employment, ensures interpersonal and professional communication and the ability to use it is fast becoming a prerequisite for a significant proportion of jobs in the economy.” The smart city will, in turn, make way for

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smart infrastructure, which means more effective and environmentally sustainable service provision including smart meters, intelligent traffic management systems and surveillance systems that will go a long way to improve development and delivery in the city.

solve all the problems, but it can assist in resolving these problems in a faster and more efficient way. For Tau, the implementation of the smart city concept must never be a vanity project. Citizens should be able to feel and see direct positive results and progress should be quantifiable. Most importantly, service delivery efforts must be improved and citizens needs must be met.

According to Tau the technology that needs to be put in place needs to promote participation and optimise service delivery which leads to wellfunctioning public sector and enable early With a growing number of people prevention of disasters. moving into the city due to employment opportunities, or better social Tau says the approach of the conditions - the cost of and deployment developmental Smart City will enable of smart technology must be done in an the city to contextualise the problems efficient manner that will not cost most that exist in third world countries. He of the budget to maintain. emphasised that technology will not

“...the implementation of the smart city concept must never be a vanity project. Citizens should be able to feel and see direct positive results and progress should be quantifiable. “

..................................................................................................................................................... DURBAN While some smart city services around the world can only be afforded by the wealthy, Durban has emphasised that their initiative must be something that is affordable and reachable by all through its eThekwini Metro Connect initiative. Speaking at the SmartCity Conference & Expo, eThekwini city manager, Mike Sutcliffe emphasised that the city’s vision of a smart city is designed for all. Revealing plans for Durban beyond 2010, Sutcliffe noted that ICT would take centre stage. “In all these area ICT is a critical link ranging from transport, safety and security, information kiosks, touch screen facilities, wireless access to the Internet at strategic points and many other facilities that require leading edge technologies.” ICT is a powerful engine for economic development and enriches economies by facilitating expansion of trade and commerce, promoting technological advancement in all economic sectors, providing opportunities for wealth creation, creating employment opportunities and promoting rural connectivity and development. So said Carol Coetzee head of the KZN Provincial government’s Department of

Economic Development in her opening address at the SmartCity Conference and Expo. Coetzee added that a smart city should monitor and integrate conditions of all its critical infrastructures including roads, bridges, tunnels, railways, airports, seaports, communications, power, water and even major buildings to better optimise its resources, plan preventive maintenance and monitor security aspects while maximising services. The smart city should integrate science and technology through information systems. It requires collaborative relationships between government, city managers, business, academia and the research community.

She said that the KZN Department of Economic Development, in its quest to eradicate the digital divide, has initiated its own ICT for rural development programme in the form of a Digital Community Hub project. Through this project those living in rural areas will have access to appropriate hardware and software to extract all the advantages that ICT provides in enhancing the quality of life. The DED has begun an implementation programme and structures have been set up to ensure that the rollout of broadband in KZN is a co-ordinated effort and government at all levels is championing the uptake of broadband for the benefits of its citizens.

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SAITNEWS Issue 4  

I’ve always wondered where the rivalry between South Africa and Australia stems from. In my mind, the commonalities between the two countrie...

SAITNEWS Issue 4  

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