Ongoing socio-political problems in Algeria could harm the nation's efforts to modernize and circle its wagons against foreign cyberattackers.
This month, a piece in the Strategic Culture Foundation Online Journal talks about potential security challenges in Algeria this year.
“In many ways, the outcome of the Arab Spring is still in flux six years on,” Alex Gorka writes. “So far, little attention has been devoted to the largest country of Africa and the Arab world. Algeria has remained largely unaffected by the Arab Spring with the history of civil war behind. It may be different this year.”
The article notes a significant austerity plan put into practice at the beginning of this year, in which the government plans to cut budgeting 14 percent across the board, while adding new taxes on different types of products. These efforts, the report says, are intended to combat a loss of $50 billion from Algeria's GDP last year.
However, there are signs that an unwillingness to support greater investment in cybersecurity may have negative effects on Algeria's role in a developing global cyberworld.
Minister of Interior Noureddine Badawi has said leaders will “strike with an iron fist whoever tries to destabilize the country's security,” but in some quarters this statement is seen as a relatively empty posture.
“It's going to increase the threat,” cybersecurity expert Bob Darvish told Maghreb News Wire on Oct. 12, describing any Algerian attempts to cut budget items related to cyberdefense. By contrast, Darvish talked about a number of companies in the United States that, after being hacked, spent significant new monies on cybersecurity efforts.
“A lot of them doubled their budgets,” Darvish said.
Darvish also warned against outsourcing cybersecurity operations.
“That opens new threats up,” Darvish said. “It could spell disaster.”
Domestic training in IT, he said, could be a plus for Algeria, but training also costs money.
“You need to pay the people that are doing the training,” Darvish said.
However, he said, one way to decrease costs while improving national IT assets is to create a knowledge base.
“You store all of the knowledge of a corporation or a department,” Darvish said. “If you lose that few people here and there, it's not going to affect the knowledge base.”
While a knowledge base can be a way to more affordably maintain knowledge of cybersecurity systems, Darvish said it also requires allocated resources.
“If you don't have the right equipment, that in itself is a problem,” Darvish said, noting that government offices will also have to restrict access using sophisticated identity and access management tools to stop bad actors from getting their hands on knowledge base information.