Covid-19 and the lockdown have forced individuals and organisations to do ever more of their business online. Unfortunately, crime has followed suit, and cybercrime has been rife since the lockdown, writes Lindile Xoko, Executive: Sales at Netstar, a subsidiary of Altron.Cybersecurity experts report a recent increase in ransomware, phishing attacks and malware in South Africa, and cybercriminals are also finding a raft of opportunities as more businesses move into e-commerce for the first time.
What is also interesting is that even physical, real-world crime is becoming more digital. Companies in the vehicle-recovery and fleet-management space – such as ours – use Internet of Things (IoT) technology to track and trace vehicles. While technology is an invaluable tool for protecting people and property, it demands requires constant innovation.
In the case of something like car-jamming and signal-jamming technology, real-world crime has now entered the cellular and radio space. Protecting people from criminals operating in this area therefore means constantly updating technology to stay a step ahead of the underworld.
Technology is also useful for keeping track of crime trends. Telematics, for instance, generates vast amounts of data through IoT tracking, which must be processed and interpreted.
Current telematics data shows that when the hard lockdown was imposed, crime essentially stopped. However, within a few weeks, as regulations were relaxed and the business slowdown hit home, crime rose again.
With economic activity under pressure, and social contact and mobility limited, criminals have also turned to cybercrime. Cloned websites, hacked accounts, ransomware, phishing campaigns, car-jamming… cybercrime takes many forms, but it’s on the rise. Experts have predicted a tenfold increase across Africa.
Individuals as well as small and medium businesses are vulnerable to attack. However, there are several practical and inexpensive technology methods to secure our people, our equipment and our fleets.
It is now the responsibility of all of us, as business leaders and entrepreneurs to educate ourselves on cybersecurity, and to be vigilant.
Innovative new offerings include security as a service, which is the app-driven, crowd-sourced “Uberisation” of the personal and vehicle-security sector. Tracking technology, as well as vehicle camera-monitoring solutions, can now also be applied to equipment, fleets of all kinds, and to individuals.
All of this tech generates data, which provides trends insights, which can in turn be used to further enhance security through artificial intelligence. In some ways, modern security is a form of cyber warfare, with companies in the security industry using every type of available technology and constantly innovating in the telematics, API and product space to keep clients and their fleets safe, and their cargo secure.
Our data indicates that crime has returned to pre-lockdown levels. In addition, crime is changing form, in step with the major changes across society thanks to the global pandemic and the lockdown.
Today’s business community also has a vast array of tech solutions to address the crime problem. It is time that we educate ourselves and protect ourselves, so we can serve our customers and grasp opportunities with confidence in the exciting new social environment.
On 5 August 2020, Netstar hosted a free webinar on the theme “Securing your business from the cybercrime surge”, featuring National Small Business Chamber (NSBC) CEO Mike Anderson. The webinar highlighted 2020 as a year of accelerated change, when old ways of managing security are no longer suitable.
New tactics include technology platforms that give organisations an integrated view of their entire business – processes, supply chain, distribution, value, customers, communications, etc. This creates an ecosystem where artificial intelligence can be used to fight digital threats in an increasingly connected world.