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
Regin: a malicious platform capable of spying on GSM networksKaspersky Lab’s Global Research and Analysis Team has published its research on Regin – the first cyber-attack platform known to penetrate and monitor GSM networks in addition to other “standard” spying tasks. Read More
Security a top priority as Africa moves to LTESecuring the network is a top priority for telcos and carriers as LTE becomes increasingly mainstream across Africa, says Fortinet. Read More
Barclays ropes in ICT taskforce in anti-fraud warBarclays Bank of Botswana (BBB) has roped in experts in the field of Information Technology and cybercrime to give weight to its annual fraud awareness month. Read More
Kaspersky Lab: Most businesses use third-party services to manage virtualisationLess than one-third of businesses keep their virtualisation servers on-premises and managed entirely by their own internal IT staff, according to a Kaspersky Lab survey of 3,900 IT professionals worldwide. Read More
Cisco: Employee complacency increases riskResearch released by Cisco shows that critical company data is at risk in South Africa as a result of organisations focusing IT security policies and resources more on external threats and not enough on the threat from within. Read More
Cyber security workshop set for WednesdayThe African Cyber Risk institute (ACRI) will host a cyber security conference in Gaborone on the 29th of October. Read More
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
FEATURED STORYGSMA: half a billion mobile subscribers in SSA by 2020
The number of unique mobile subscribers in Sub-Saharan Africa will pass the half billion mark in 2020, says a new GSMA report.
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 NEWSLeading through volatility in Africa
For the businesses that are prepared to face the storm and manage the volatility afflicting the continent, there are still huge rewards to be had from doing business ...