SMEs threatened by cybercrime

Business News of Thursday, 11 April 2013

Source: B&FT


Information and Telecommunication (ICT) experts have warned that small- and medium-scale enterprises (SMEs) risk losing revenue, vital data, customers and credibility if measures to protect their IT systems are not strengthened while they expand and embrace ICT as a vital business tool.

“Many more SMEs today utilise ICT opportunities as vital business tools to create innovative business operations, user-friendly products and services, and customer-centric strategies.

“Unfortunately, a myriad of challenges threaten the SMEs. The issues of confidentiality, integrity and availability (CIA) vulnerabilities as well as numerous threat agents attack SMEs’ systems. The adverse effects include loss of revenue, customer and investor confidence, resources, credibility and possible business closure,” Ezer Yeboah-Boateng, the founder of Ezi Technologies, said.

He was speaking at this year’s BT Breakfast Roundtable on ICT held under the theme “Driving Business Success Through ICT and Related Technological Applications”. The event was organised by the Business Times (BT) Magazine with support from the Business and Financial Times in Accra.

Present and emerging security issues such as viruses, hackers, and worms underline the importance of taking preventative measures. These are serious threats with serious consequences — yet, many small businesses have not taken the steps to safeguard their businesses.

Mr. Yeboah-Boateng said in some cases “it’s a matter of limited resources. But, in most cases, small business owners are simply unclear as to what steps they should take or even where to start.”

Cyber crimes, which refer to crimes involving ICT tools — computers, digital devices, computer applications, and the Internet — have over the last few years placed the country in a bad light in the eyes of the international community. The Internet Fraud Report of 2010 by the Internet Crime Complaint Centre (IC3), an agency of the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), ranked the country among the ten major cyber crime offending nations in the world.

Mr. Albert Antwi-Boasiako, the Founder and Principal e-Crime Consultant at e-Crime Bureau Inc., said the existing and emerging threats targetting the ICT-enabled business environment include mobile banking threats, hacking, DDoS (Distributed Denial-of-Service Attack), malware attacks, social engineering attacks, security breaches, e-espionage, and phishing.

He said “the electronic platform is emerging as the centre of gravity for fraud and other financial crimes.” Lead panelists at the roundtable included Mr. Jonathan Tawiah, Founder & CEO, OSTEC Ghana Ltd; Mr. Kofi Dadzie, Chief Executive Officer, Rancard Solutions; Mr. Albert Antwi-Boasiako; and Mr. Ezer Yeboah-Boateng.