October is a Cyber Security Awareness (CSAW) Month. MUT is doing its bit to bring home this message. On 8 October 2021, the Acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Resources and Planning, Dr Johan van Koller, together with the Senior Director of the Department of Information Technology and Networks, Dr Marlo de Swardt, Mongi Nquphaza, a cyber security specialist, and Njabulo Xaba, the Workshop Technician in the Debarment of Information Technology and Networks, launched live on MUT Radio the MUT CSAW, as part of the national empowerment drive. The national CSAW is from 11 to 15 October 2021. The MUT launch of the event was to bring into sharp focus to all staff and students the cyber-related problems. Dr de Swardt and his team, and Dr van Koller, appealed to staff to be vigilant when using the University network. Xaba and Nquphaza emphasized the importance of targeting staff. Xaba and Nquphaza both defined staff as “the weak link that is targeted by hackers.” They made a special appeal to staff to not respond to suspicious emails. Over the years of running the cyber security campaign, Xaba has always requested staff to contact his department if they suspected that there was something wrong on their computers. Xaba also appealed to staff to attend the virtual cyber security sessions that his department will run the during the Cyber Security Awareness Week. Dr van Koller said it was compulsory for staff to attend these sessions.
Even before the 1st of October, the Department of Information Technology and Networks’ Njabulo Xaba communicated the important message to staff – that they needed to empower themselves with the relevant knowledge so they would be able to act in a manner that would ensure that the safety of the network of the University was not compromised. So far in October, the department has run six CSAW segments of the competition. This is a hard test wherein staff have to choose a correct answer, out of the four. Xaba said he was very appreciative of the staff’s participation in the competition. “Our colleagues have been participating in big numbers. That is great. Even more important is that this exercise is more than winning a prize. We are appealing to colleagues to use the information we are giving them to protect our network. As simple decision like not using the MUT address when communicating a private message will go a long way in protecting our network. Hackers will not be able to trace your message back to the MUT network. This was one of the questions we gave to staff this week. We are glad most colleagues got it right. Now, colleagues, please apply that, and protect our network,” said Xaba, a Workshop Technician.