Cyber security experts raise alarm over money crimes
SECURITY| Sept. 3, 2012, 1:20 p.m.
By Semaj Itosno, Nairobi, Kenya
Money laundering and terrorism financing are currently the two biggest threats facing financial institutions in Africa, according to security experts.
Cyber Security Africa, a UK-based information and e-commerce security provider, says banks and other money-transfer service providers are investing huge sums of money and personnel in countering these crimes but they continue to pose legal and financial challenges to them.
“Firms today understand the need for a company-wide anti-money laundering culture, one that can adapt to the changing external environment,” said Sammy Kioki, the African Alliance Manager for Cyber Security Africa. “People play an important part in that culture. Each member of staff, regardless of position, has a role to play in safeguarding the reputation of the firm and minimising the financial risk caused by money laundering.”
Kioko was speaking on Monday in Nairobi at a press briefing to announce a three-day conference on "Combating Financial Crime in East Africa" to be held in Kigali, Rwanda, on September 26 to 28, at Serena Hotel.
In one of its latest reports released late 2011 the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) said criminals may have laundered around USD1.6 trillion in 2009, one fifth of that coming from the illicit drug trade.
According to the report the USD1.6 trillion represents 2.7% of global gross domestic product (GDP) in 2009.
“This figure is in line with the range of two to five per cent of global GDP previously established by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to estimate the scale of money-laundering,” partly reads the UNODC report , entitled Estimating illicit financial flows resulting from drug trafficking and other transnational organized crime.
The report also says that the “interception rate” for anti-money-laundering efforts at the global level remains low.
Koko said financial institutions should ensure their employees have the necessary skills to protect the organisations from these vices. “It is also important to ensure procedures and processes are implemented throughout the organisation, from head office to regional branch,” he said. “Through training, staff can achieve and understanding of the importance of money laundering prevention, the part they play and the best practice. This will be cheaper in the long run than dealing with the repercussions.”
He said the regional conference – organised by Cyber Security Africa and sponsored by technology company IBM, security training firm Eacademy Group and other stakeholders – will provide solutions on countering money laundering and terrorism financing and their related implications on economies and financial systems.
The workshop will include atwo-day training on anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing on September 27 and 28, 2012. Some of the key issues to be addressed include, among others, adopting the latest best practices to protect your organisation from fraud, understanding changes in the money service business regulatory landscape to ensure compliance, mastering anti-money laundering audits to meet institutional needs and satisfy regulators.
"We will explore anti-money laundering issues in emerging payment systems, securing your IT infrastructure as well as other key issues like anti-money laundering laws, identifying money-laundering activities, risk management, sanctions risk, politically exposed person risk and the financial action task force,” he said.
According to UNODC Globally, it appears that much less than one per cent of illicit financial flows are currently being seized and frozen.
“Tracking the flows of illicit funds generated by drug trafficking and organized crime and analysing how they are laundered through the world’s financial systems remain daunting tasks,” stated UNODC Executive Director Yury Fedotov, who launched the report today in Marrakech, Morocco, during the week-long meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Convention on Corruption.
MORE SECURITY NEWS
Kaspersky Lab: Ebola hook in “Nigerian” spamIn September spammers produced topical new versions of the old “Nigerian Letter” scam, this time based on the Ebola virus. Read More
Cisco warns of unprecedented growth of malicious trafficThreats designed to take advantage of users’ trust in systems, applications and personal networks have reached startling levels, a new report by Cisco reveals. Read More
Users cover webcams due to spying fearsKaspersky Lab research has found a large proportion of computer users cover up their webcams for fear of being spied on. Read More
Growing African focus on data securityBeachhead Solutions’ new SA and Mauritius country manager explains the challenges and solutions around securing customer data and compliance with new personal information legislation. Read More
Costly kids: families lose money or data due to children on the netAccording to joint research by Kaspersky Lab and B2B International, 18% of users in South Africa have lost either money or important information as a result of their children’s online activity. Read More
No silver bullet for securityFor too many businesses, the idea of a security ‘quick fix’ is tempting, and they learn the hard way that there is no such thing, says Intact Security. Read More
Every fifth Android user faces cyber attacksAccording to the results of the “Mobile cyber-threats” survey carried out by Kaspersky Lab and INTERPOL between August 2013 and July 2014, every fifth Android-based device protected by Kaspersky Lab security solutions was a target of malware at least once during the reporting period. Read More
Risks of cyber attacks hard to defineIt is extremely hard to apply to the risks caused by the myriad cyber threats out there, as they are hard to define, harder to prevent, and it is almost impossible to accurately assess the cost and damage of a breach once it has taken place, says Intact Software Distribution. Read More
Cyber Security Africa set for EthiopiaThe 2nd Annual Ethiopia Banking & ICT Summit will take place in November 21st, 2014 at Sheraton Hotel, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Read More
FEATURED STORYGrowing African focus on data security
Beachhead Solutions’ new SA and Mauritius country manager explains the challenges and solutions around securing customer data and compliance with new personal information legislation.
BEST READ NEWS
IN DEPTHAfrica lags on digital migration
Only three African countries have so far completed the digital migration process, and serious issues are hampering the migration in other nations.
COMPANY NEWSVMware reports third quarter 2014 results
VMware, the global leader in virtualization and cloud infrastructure, today announced Year-over-Year Revenue Growth of 18% to $1.52 Billion in its financial results for the third quarter ...