The attack is the best form of defence

If you want to win the war, do not go into defensive mode. Go into attack mode. I come from Hoima. While growing up,

If you want to win the war, do not go into defensive mode. Go into attack mode.

I come from Hoima. While growing up, we had several stories of night dancers, thieves, and kidnappers. If you were walking alone at night, and see an approaching car, you hid in the bush to let the car pass. It was rare to see a car at night, and when you saw one, it meant danger. To us (back then), people with cars only moved during the day. Everyone wanted to be seen in a car. It was rare to see one! So, anyone who moved at night had sinister intentions.

One time around the early 1960s when Indians lived in our village, a local woman was walking at night. A car came, stopped and she was forced inside. So we were told. Since that time, she disappeared. This incident became a village legend. The story would later be told to all the children and their children. Night cars are deadly. They kidnap people! If you see one, run away.  

And so villagers invested in personal precautions and security. No moving at night. As children, we were warned against going near a car that is moving at night. Then there were scary stories about night dancers. Everyone feared one, but no one saw one. We believed. It was common to find people already in their homes by 7 pm. I lived with my grandpa and he was a man of defence in depth. Once he locked his house, he would never open. If neighbors came at night for any help with salt, millet flour, or local brew, he always opened a burglar-proofed window and passed whatever they needed through. His security rules were simple but effective: enter the house early. Once locked, never open for anybody. And you have no business going outside the house at night. If you are attached to your home, fight with all you have.

We lived by these principles until one day something (thieves) happened.

I am sure they had done some reconnaissance or prior intelligence, for they never bothered breaking the front or behind door or window. These doors were hardened. They instead started digging a hole into the wall. You know the small village houses of mud and wattle construction. We were awakened by the loud bang of the digging.

Quickly grandpa located the point where the noise was coming from. It was a wall of the storeroom. Grandpa always kept big fighting sticks like those that make a handle of the axe or digging hoe. He decided to move next to the point, his stick in hand and a large torch. As one of the men was bringing the head through the fresh hole, grandpa pointed a torch into his eyes. He wanted to give him temporary blindness. Being a Christian, grandpa wanted to first give them warning instead of hitting on the head at first sight. And it worked. The man started running, shouting as if it was magic. You know those village stories. The thief was taken by surprise and he took off. In the morning we reported to the local council security officers who decided to give us some lessons. But also, grandpa became a feared man. The thieve thought he had been hit by black magic that blinded him… I am sure, if one took CCTV cameras in the village and caught villagers stealing and later pointed them out, they would also say black magic or white magic whatever you want to use.

At the security briefing, the local council security officer told us, “don’t wait for the enemy to get close to you. Take the fight to him.” He emphasized that if someone strikes you, gather all your energy and strike them hard where it hurts most. That way they will back-off.

I remembered this story today as I read about the best cybersecurity risk management strategy – offensive or defensive?

Much as countries must establish defensive cybersecurity capabilities, more investment must be made in the offensive security.

What do you understand by offensive security?

For example, if someone is trying to fight you, do not focus on defending yourself. Try to also attack them. Try to take the war to their families, friends, and relatives. Make them uncomfortable so that they do not only focus on fighting you. let them also have something to reduce their focus by trying to protect themselves or their families.

That way, you will reduce the direct fire on you.

Good luck in your self-defence.

Remember, an attack is the best defence. The coward of the country may not help you in this 21st century.

Copyright Mustapha B Mugisa, 2020. All rights reserved.

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