The Monitor – EU Supports Cybersmart Challenge


The use of the internet has grown exponentially in Botswana since the introduction of social media and the overall improved connectivity enabled by the use of smart phones.

But the use of the internet exposes consumers to possible leaks of their personal information. With more and more online accounts being hacked, sometimes with devastating consequences, there is need to sensitise people on cyber security.

The European Union (EU)-funded Cyber Resilience for Development (Cyber4Dev) Project came together with local partners, the eBotho Cyber Awareness Campaign, Change Africa, the National Youth Council and Botswana Communications Regulatory Authority (BOCRA) to launch a campaign in Botswana called ‘The CybersmartBW Challenge’.

The campaign will help people understand how they can stay safe and thus challenge them with questions like ‘Are you cybersmart?’ and ‘Do you know the tricks cyber hackers rely on to get into your online accounts?’

It is a one-month campaign that will run through the month of October 2020 targeting young people in particular. Cyber attacks are a rapidly growing phenomenon. Google has reported 100 million phishing attacks per day worldwide of its email accounts alone.

This comes at a time when a growing number of services and transactions are available online, quickly and easily. And during the lockdown, Batswana have been spending more time online doing homework, talking to family members and friends or completing online transactions.

The aim is to help them understand the type of tricks and vulnerabilities hackers rely on and how they can protect themselves. Once people have been the victim of a cyber-attack, they are vulnerable to identity theft, harassment, blackmail or even financial scams.

According to Jan Sadek, Ambassador of the EU to Botswana, young people in particular are vulnerable thanks to their curiosity and desire to connect online.

“As this is a relatively new technology with which often times parents and even teachers are not very expert, they are having to learn a cyber-culture and etiquette without the usual guidance,” Sadek said.

Chief technology officer at BOCRA, Tshoganetso Kepaletswe pointed out that cyber security is a relatively new topic in Botswana, which is why it has mainly been confused with cybercrime.

He said cyber security is the collection of tools, policies, legislation, security concepts, security safeguards, guidelines, risk management approaches, actions, training, best practices, assurance and technologies that are put in place to protect the cyberspace and prevent the cybercrime.

Throughout the month the campaign will also be organising online information sessions and radio and TV campaigns through, which the campaign ambassadors, Game Bantsi and Kedi Molosiwa, will spread the message of the campaign. Young people are also encouraged to take an online quiz to help them understand if their cyber security awareness is up to scratch. The Cybersmart Challenge will comprise a competition open to anyone from the age of 14 to 21.

In one short video, statement or post they will be asked to express creatively an important risk that comes from poor cyber security and give an important tip that anyone can take to help keep them safe on the internet.

The deadline for submissions of the statements is October 30, 2020 and the winners will be invited to a ceremony in November to receive a tablet and cash prizes.