Select Page

Cyber-security is not a ‘nice-to have’

Cyber-security is not a ‘nice-to have’

By Johann van Rooyen
Cybersecurity Specialist.

Namibia seems a safe and secure haven, we go about our business and relish the idea of telling foreigners about our beautiful country in Southern Africa, assuming that almost no one has ever heard of it.

However, there’s a group that has definitely heard of us as a nation and they are cyber criminals. We seem to be so welcoming to cyber criminals that we top the list of countries in Africa most targeted by cyber criminals. This is hugely worrying and even dangerous.

According to Check Point an internationally renowned provider of ICT Infrastructure and IT-security, Namibia is number one in being targeted by cyber criminals that want to exploit ICT-Infrastructure weaknesses.

Cyber criminals will try to target as many networks as possible and as soon as they find vulnerabilities they start to exploit them for financial gain, often wreaking havoc in the process.

This can range from blackmailing, to stealing company secrets, ransomware attacks, releasing viruses or trojan horses, hacking accounts or other forms of compromising people leading them to feel they have no choice but to pay a ransom. One of the newer forms this has taken is known as ‘Business Email Compromise’ or ‘sextortion’ to give it its more common name.

This form of extortion works by tricking victims into making a payment as a result of possibly compromising material the blackmailer may or may not have. The person to be blackmailed is led to believe there’s potentially embarrassing information which the blackmailer has acquired through hacking their data.

The only way in which they can stop this from being released to the general public is by paying. The release of this information is almost never done and usually they just try to fool the person into believing they have the info. People are so frightened of any material being released that they simply pay up. The less secure a network, the easier it is for cyber criminals to exploit.

Due to our lack of robust cyber security, whilst other more advanced countries know the risks and constantly beef up their security to stay ahead of the cyber criminals, Namibia has become the focal point for these criminals. Companies are required by law to have robust safety features like firewalls, anti-virus software and back-ups in place, this requirement needs to be enforced rigorously. It is essential that Namibians both as private citizens and as companies step up their cyber security game.

This is not a list we want to be at the top of.

Most companies and organisations believe they are on top of things. However, as this list demonstrates we clearly aren’t. An organisation and its security, especially online is only as strong as its weakest link. Companies need to take their responsibility seriously when it comes to their ICT-environment in the broadest terms.

This includes mobile applications, devices as well as third party access, the applications, networks, and computer systems.

It is clear we need to step up our cyber-security game as a nation and strengthen our cyber defences. If we are to be attractive as a business destination both our public, and private ICT security needs to be on point. Cyber-security can never be an afterthought and is not a ‘nice-to have’!


 

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

Promotion

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.