‘Government leaks that compromise confidential and strategic information affecting policy violate the National Security Act as well as the Intelligence and Security Service Act’ -DIS
‘They need to look at their server system and overhaul it as well as changing system administrators’ -expert
The Directorate of Intelligence Services (DIS) has been advised to act fast and overhaul their ICT system as it is the source of government information leakages.
Highly placed sources have revealed that when the current administration changed the personnel they forgot one critical component in the spy world, which is the use of radio signals to tap data. Government has been left naked with confidential information leaked and ICT Experts are said to have advised the DIS to overhaul their ICT system as it is the source of the leakages as non-state actors have access to it.
Disgruntled DIS agents who worked closely with the previous administration are said to still have access to DIS systems and are able to collect data from government computers, some which are not even connected to the internet. “These guys have embedded software and hardware ‘bugs’ in the computers which they used to use to allow them to collect information from the government systems whilst they were still at DIS which enable them to have access to computers even when they are not connected to the internet and they are now controlling it from the outside,” revealed an IT expert who spoke on condition of anonymity.
He said they have long warned the DIS management to overhaul the whole government system as they are not in control of the software installed. The system, according to the IT expert, relies on a covert channel of radio waves that can be transmitted from tiny circuit boards and USB cards inserted surreptitiously into computers.“Even if the DIS can install any cyber security controls, the software allows the hackers to have an end run around on the compromised systems,” he warned.
The massive overhaul of the security measures governing leaking of information is alleged to be extremely expensive.
DIS Spokesperson Edward Robert said the Directorate has a statutory obligation to advise government, public bodies and statutory bodies on issues of national security, including the protection of classified documents. “To that end, we continue to engage across all government sectors with a view to find solution to the problem of leaking of strategic and confidential information. Government leaks that compromise confidential and strategic information affecting policy violate the National Security Act as well as the Intelligence and Security Service Act. To that extent, there is no question that this conduct poses threat to national security and to statecraft,” he said.
Managing Director of Precision Vehicle and Asset Tracking, Motlhaleemang Moalosi who is an ICT expert said that if indeed the leaking of information can be traced to the DIS Internet Protocol address they need to change it. “They also need to look at their server system and overhaul it as well as changing system administrators,” he advised.
President Mokgweetsi Masisi has raised concern regarding the leaking of information and recently during cabinet retreat he expressed his worry about the leaking of classified information. He said the practice should be condemned as it had the potential to discredit the executive’s level of integrity and trustworthiness. Masisi said that cabinet ministers have the obligation to guard against improper information dissemination by closing information leakages under their ministerial portfolios.
One of the leakages that even shook the security cluster was the leaking of presidential VIP protection SUVs whose pictures were leaked to the media. This led to the suspension of some senior officers at DIS including deputy Director General Operations. Former Commander of the Botswana Defence Force (BDF) Ground Forces Major General (R ) Pius Mokgware raised concern about the leaking of classified information saying it is clear the leakages is at the rooftop.