Tough year ahead

Finweek English Edition - - Communication & technology - BENE­DICT KELLY

THE YEAR 2007 is when South African con­sumers and com­pa­nies will fi­nally re­alise they have to take the se­cu­rity of their per­sonal in­for­ma­tion as se­ri­ously as they take per­sonal se­cu­rity.

This is the view of Guy Whitcroft, chief op­er­at­ing of­fi­cer for new busi­nesses at MB Tech­nol­ogy, which has just fleshed out its dis­tri­bu­tion busi­ness with the launch of a se­cu­ri­ty­fo­cused dis­trib­u­tor, NetDe­fense.

He says that while the de­vel­oped world has ex­pe­ri­enced high-profile iden­tity theft, SA has yet to see the lengths to which crim­i­nals will go to ob­tain per­sonal in­for­ma­tion, in­clud­ing dig­ging in rub­bish to find credit card re­ceipts and other house­hold bills.

Whitcroft says that in­ter­na­tion­ally, many crim­i­nal or­gan­i­sa­tions have re­alised iden­tity theft can be more lu­cra­tive and com­par­a­tively eas­ier to com­mit than tra­di­tional steal­ing, which has led to the dra­matic rise in phish­ing at­tacks (at­tempts to get con­fi­den­tial in­for­ma­tion through fake, of­fi­cial-look­ing, emails).

“US re­search in­di­cates that it’s on av­er­age 500 days be­fore a per­son be­comes aware of iden­tity theft, be­cause it takes the form of fake bank ac­counts or credit cards in the name of the vic­tim,” he says.

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