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Business News of Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Source: B&FT

Cyber crime takes minds of businesses

Businesses have pinpointed threats from cyber criminals as one of their biggest worries as they move to digitalise their business processes.

This came to light at the maiden Business Times (BT) Breakfast Roundtable on Information and Communications Technology in Accra yesterday. Founder & Principal e-Crime Consultant, e-Crime Bureau Inc., Albert Antwi-Boasiako, who is also a consultant to the Criminal and Investigation Department (CID) of the Ghana Police Service cyber crime unit, said most businesses are now under serious attack from people who use the computer to perpetrate fraud.

Worse, he said, the focus of most businesses when it comes to security of their networks and systems is wrongly placed. “ICT is emerging as the centre of gravity for fraud and other financial crimes for businesses operating in a digital world.

“All manner of criminal activities are committed with the computer. It ranges from money laundering, tax fraud, payroll fraud, among others. But how far have businesses trained their IT employees from the security perspective? “The cyber crime that we know as practitioners is far beyond the ‘sakawa’ and 419 that we know. That is a minute aspect of the problem.

“In the banking sector, internal employees are inserting key loggers on machines to pick up passwords in collaboration with external agents -- this is part of the cyber crimes that are confronting the nation. “When we talk about cyber crime, we should not think about the sakawa boys, they are just the smallest group -- and that is what security agencies have learnt,” he said. The BT ICT roundtable event assembled managing directors, chief executive officers, chief finance officers, chief information officers, heads of technology departments, chief operating officers, heads of communication, chief technology officers, heads of technology strategy and information technology of various institutions, amongst others.

Thematic areas that were covered in the discussion included cyber fraud and transaction security, maximising social networking platforms, establishing market leadership, evaluating technological models and trends, optimising mobile technology strategies, business innovation, enterprise technology strategies, and many more.

The CEO of Rancard Solutions, Kofi Dadzie, noted that the adoption of IT by businesses has exposed them to a myriad of threats as they computerise their operations to improve their competitive positioning and increase customer satisfaction. He said: “In Ghana and across Africa, we are now waking up to the essence and potential for our business and personal lives to be disrupted from digitally-based security breaches.

“However, what we may not realise is that every day we are building digital assets and the methods we are using to build and secure or not very well secured, and are just creating a base for would-be perpetrators to develop their ‘businesses’.

“And we would be much smarter if we took a cue from the incidents in the developed nations and begin to build security from the onset as we build our data centres, telecom infrastructure, computer business, and Government operations. “It would make a lot of sense for us to sensitise ourselves on what digital security means and the implications of what not having adequate security measures are -- and begin to pay the same level of attention that is given to our physical security to the digital assets we are building every day.”

Presently, many businesses have adopted IT into their processing to create innovative business operations, user-friendly products and services, and customer-centric strategies. The founder and Chief Solutions Officer, EZi Technologies, Ezer Yeboah-Boateng said most businesses do not take issues of vulnerabilities or threats to their business seriously, due to asset disposal or asset handling.

The CEO of Ostec Ghana, Jonathan Tawiah, whose company provides IT infrastructure services to businesses, said the complexities in the application of IT to business operations require that firms use the right resources.

“For businesses to be able to achieve a facelift in the application of IT to business, people will have to be smart about the way they apply technology; because technology itself is smart and shouldn’t be applied wrongly.”

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