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It is about more than just protecting your PIN – Card Data Security

It is about more than just protecting your PIN – Card Data Security

By Riaan Viljoen
Information Security Specialist at Capricorn Group

Payment card fraud has been around for as long as payment cards exit. Initially cards were stolen and used at Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) and shop check-outs or counterfeit cards were created. As a result, banks have traditionally advised customers to protect their Personal Identification Number (PIN) at all costs.

But since the Internet and online purchasing became a viable alternative to traffic, parking lots and long check-out lines, card-not-present fraud has escalated at an alarming rate.

According to a 2017 study, it is estimated that global losses relating to card-not-present fraud will reach more than 70 billion US dollars within the next three to five years.

Security measures

Bank Windhoek prioritises the protection of payment card data and complies to industry best practice when it comes to information security standards. All our systems, web applications and business processes are constantly being monitored and upgraded or revised to align with our priority of protecting your payment card data.

In 2015 chip cards were introduced to replace mag-stripe only cards world-wide. This has helped in curbing the occurrence of counterfeit fraud, but unfortunately, at the same time it has stimulated card-not-present fraud on the internet, as this became the ‘easier’ way of conducting fraud. Fraudsters do not need to steal a payment card any more, they only need the information.

All that is required to conduct a payment transaction on the internet is the information on your debit or credit card – the full card number, known as the Primary Account Number (PAN), the expiration date on the front, and the three-digit Card Verification Value (CVV) on the back.

Websites have no way of confirming that the person entering the card information for an online purchase is the actual owner of the card. Therefore, it is important to keep the card information confidential. Even during card related queries with your bank, the full PAN should never be communicated in any format.

Sharing only the first six and the last four numbers of the PAN, known as masking the PAN, is key in protecting confidential card data. Below are more suggestions: Never allow your debit or credit card to be photocopied; when destroying an expired debit or credit card, make sure that it cannot be glued or pieced back together again; always keep your Bank Windhoek debit or credit card within view when transacting at any Point-Of-Sale (POS) device. Never allow yourself to be distracted; do not transact on any web site. Spend some time to research and confirm the validity of a web site as a legitimate online merchant with a secure track record and finally be wary of emails and telephone calls requesting personal or payment card information and never click on links in emails of unknown origin.


About The Author

Guest Contributor

A Guest Contributor is any of a number of experts who contribute articles and columns under their own respective names. They are regarded as authorities in their disciplines, and their work is usually published with limited editing only. They may also contribute to other publications. - Ed.

Following reverse listing, public can now acquire shareholding in Paratus Namibia


20 February 2020, Windhoek, Namibia: Paratus Namibia Holdings (PNH) was founded as Nimbus Infrastructure Limited (“Nimbus”), Namibia’s first Capital Pool Company listed on the Namibian Stock Exchange (“NSX”).

Although targeting an initial capital raising of N$300 million, Nimbus nonetheless managed to secure funding to the value of N$98 million through its CPC listing. With a mandate to invest in ICT infrastructure in sub-Sahara Africa, it concluded management agreements with financial partner Cirrus and technology partner, Paratus Telecommunications (Pty) Ltd (“Paratus Namibia”).

Paratus Namibia Managing Director, Andrew Hall

Its first investment was placed in Paratus Namibia, a fully licensed communications operator in Namibia under regulation of the Communications Regulatory Authority of Namibia (CRAN). Nimbus has since been able to increase its capital asset base to close to N$500 million over the past two years.

In order to streamline further investment and to avoid duplicating potential ICT projects in the market between Nimbus and Paratus Namibia, it was decided to consolidate the operations.

Publishing various circulars to shareholders, Nimbus took up a 100% shareholding stake in Paratus Namibia in 2019 and proceeded to apply to have its name changed to Paratus Namibia Holdings with a consolidated board structure to ensure streamlined operations between the capital holdings and the operational arm of the business.

This transaction was approved by the Competitions Commission as well as CRAN, following all the relevant regulatory approvals as well as the necessary requirements in terms of corporate governance structures.

Paratus Namibia has evolved as a fully comprehensive communications operator in Namibia and operates as the head office of the Paratus Group in Africa. Paratus has established a pan-African footprint with operations in six African countries, being: Angola, Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zambia.

The group has achieved many successes over the years of which more recently includes the building of the Trans-Kalahari Fibre (TKF) project, which connects from the West Africa Cable System (WACS) eastward through Namibia to Botswana and onward to Johannesburg. The TKF also extends northward through Zambia to connect to Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, which made Paratus the first operator to connect the west and east coast of Africa under one Autonomous System Number (ASN).

This means that Paratus is now “exporting” internet capacity to landlocked countries such as Zambia, Botswana, the DRC with more countries to be targeted, and through its extensive African network, Paratus is well-positioned to expand the network even further into emerging ICT territories.

PNH as a fully-listed entity on the NSX, is therefore now the 100% shareholder of Paratus Namibia thereby becoming a public company. PNH is ready to invest in the future of the ICT environment in Namibia. The public is therefore invited and welcome to acquire shares in Paratus Namibia Holdings by speaking to a local stockbroker registered with the NSX. The future is bright, and the opportunities are endless.