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E-wallets, cyber crime and the law

17 Feb, 2020 - 00:02 0 Views

The Herald

Millias Zinyambi Correspondent

Zimbabwe is sitting on a ticking time bomb in the financial services sector. This is increasingly becoming so given the cybercrime upsurge in recent times where big institutions and governments are being hit.

For us, as I see it, it’s a matter of time. We must watch out. We are just believing that it will not happen, but it may.

We should have learnt lessons about the attacks on Yahoo and Equifax. In the latter case, data belonging to about 143 million people was infiltrated.

The hackers got people’s names, addresses, dates of birth and social security numbers.

They got driver’s licence numbers of some people, and stole credit card numbers of about 209 000 people. Something must be done urgently.

My main worry is with the financial services sector in Zimbabwe where telecom companies are increasingly playing a dominant role.

A study from a distance reveals to me that the whole financial services system in Zimbabwe is exposed.

For instance, whenever we have challenges with cash movement between the bank and e-wallets, have you ever noticed that banks have less power than telecom companies running e-wallets?

It means that telecom companies have access to bank databases, yet banks do not have the same privilege on telecoms databases.

How does that sound to you?

Now I’m sure I am not wrong to think that the telecoms guys are better in ICT skills than bankers.

And that means banks are living at the mercy of telecoms service providers, so are all of us.

Banks might think that the confidentiality contracts they sign are a form of protection, well sorry to them.

Hackers do not read confidentiality contracts. They are criminals. Thus, it means if a telecoms company’s database is targeted, associated banks are potential victims, and all of us.

What do we need in Zimbabwe to counter this?

We need to promote education in forensic accounting. Auditors, ICT graduates and accountants must quickly equip themselves with cyber security skills to protect databases and to investigate cybercrime.

Without that, a simple hacker may bring the financial services system on its knees in a short space of time.

I have to thank ICSAZ and the Harare Institute of Technology whom I hear have introduced a Diploma and a Degree in Forensic Accounting respectively.

At least something positive is happening.

With all this risk in our midst, it’s surprising that the Cybercrime and Cyber Security Bill is not yet law.

Those who have adequate understanding of cybercrime must help the Government revise the Bill so that it becomes more comprehensive.

Instead of concentrating on targeting people who send insulting WhatsApps, let’s focus more on hackers who can collapse banks and dupe people of their hard earned income.

I guess those with ears have heard.

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