Times of Eswatini

Businesses urged to enhance data protection


MBABANE–The spiral hike in business data fraud globally has prompted Esw a ti ni Communicat­ions Commission ( ESCCOM) to warn locals.

E SC COM CEO M vi law em pi Dlamini said with the pervasiven­ess of technology, it was important to ensure your data was used at your preference.

“Carefully consider how much personal data you choose to post or share online. Once the informatio­n becomes publicly available, it may be difficult for you to safeguard or manage how your personal data may be used,” he said.

Dlamini also mentioned that a company or any institutio­n cannot process ( meaning deal in whatever manner) with your informatio­n without your specific consent.

He said the processing must only be to the extent for which the consent was sought, and only necessary informatio­n must be processed. As soon as the purpose was fulfilled, the institutio­n must delete the informatio­n such that it is irretrieva­ble.

“This entails the ‘ right to be forgotten’’, he added.

The CEO also mentioned that there were categories of exemptions, instances where personal informatio­n may be processed without your consent, for instance, he said a bank may process informatio­n where it has to fulfil a contractua­l term.

With reports indicating a rise in investment fraud and proof of payment scams, ESCCOM has launched Cyber security Awareness last year in November.

Chairperso­n of the Eswatini Bankers Associatio­n ( EBA) Mbali Sibanyoni said compared to the previous year, there was a rise in the scams.

Sibanyoni said in 2021, there were 251 reported cases of internet fraud, while this year, there were 307 cases.

She said the total amount that was defrauded was E6 256 446. According to Sibanyoni, internet fraud increased from 116 cases to 141, about 21 per cent.

Proof of payment increased from 67 to 80 cases, while there were 14 cases of cryptocurr­ency scam totalling to E644 073 reported this year. Sibanyoni said individual­s remained susceptibl­e to fraudsters through telephone or email. In the past year alone, Sibanyoni stated that they received several reports from customers who had been victims. She said it was important to report such acts and early suspicious transactio­ns as they occurred. According to Sibanyoni, by reporting early, loses could be minimised and avoided.

She said part of the EBA’s initiative through the fraud liaising committee was conducting fraud awareness road shows in an aggressive approach.

Sibanyoni mentioned that the month of November was the fraud awareness month, but looking at the increase of the fraud schemes they had received, the fraud liaising committee was tasked with educating through road shows in the four regions.

Furthermor­e, she said since the Central Bank and EPA announced the stoppage of cheques, they had engaged teachers, and other citizens in terms of awareness of cybercrime as well as the use of online banking.

Ministry of Informatio­n, Communicat­ion and Technology ( ICT) Principal Secretary Maxwell Masuku said, “The ministry and ESCCOM are developing a national digital strategy which will, in context, address cybersecur­ity issues. It will strengthen the security of our own government systems to keep pace with rapidly evolving cybersecur­ity threats.”

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