Ilonka Badenhorst, Managing Executive at WASPA reflects on the recent MEF Africa Round table and what the industry needs to do to continue the work being done to combat cyber crime and fraud in the mobile ecosystem.
The mobile ecosystem has grown substantially – fuelled by innovation and changing requirements – and as much as it has been beneficial, security continues to remain a challenge for the broader industry at large.
Additionally, as data continues to rise in value, and cybercrime continues to be lucrative, the need to collaborate as an industry to not only educate consumers around digital practices, but to also ensure regulation remains tight and unwavering as we go into 2023, remains critical.
If we consider the high demand around mobile devices and apps, especially over the past two years, where work and learn from home policies are now prevalent, it’s then easy to see why these devices and apps have become a prime target for fraud.
There is a responsibility on consumers to take preventative steps. There is a plethora of tools and solutions on the market to help curb a number of these potential risks they face – but they are not always used. And that comes down to two things: awareness and education, and complacency.“
Moreover, while we automatically think of cybercrime and security breaches, the reality is that there are multifaceted risks that consumers experience today, including the likes of:
- Content risk: exposure to hateful and harmful content as well as disinformation
- Conduct risk: where the actions of the consumers themselves put them at risk and make them vulnerable to attacks
- Contact risk: the rise of unwanted and unwarranted contact such as spam calls and mails
- Privacy threats and risks: providing their personal information and exposing themselves to potential fraud or cybercrime
- Legal risks: downloading illegal content and software
The question then becomes: who’s responsibility is it then to protect the consumer against these risks? Surely, it’s the job of the regulators and the mobile operators?
There is a responsibility on consumers to take preventative steps. There is a plethora of tools and solutions on the market to help curb a number of these potential risks they face – but they are not always used. And that comes down to two things: awareness and education, and complacency.
As an industry we can’t tackle complacency by only encouraging open dialogue and action, but we certainly have a strong role to play in education. In fact, we have an obligation to educate, and as an ecosystem, if done the right way and together, the impact is powerful.
The market in itself is extremely regulated, but if consumers are not aware of their rights, where to lodge complaints and how to navigate a constantly changing environment securely – there is a weak link in the ecosystem.
As such, I believe that as an industry, if we want to move the needle, not only do we have to have a longer-term view of business and industry, but we need to continue to have open debate with all players. We need to be porous to external influence and needs, and we also need to remain flexible and agile in an ecosystem where the only constant is change.