• Shaun Bateman

Security issues under the spotlight into the new decade for Africa




Security, at all levels, continues to be a major concern across the African continent.

On the local front, policing issues came under more fire during 2019, with the SAPS under pressure to hire another 60,000 people to meet international standards, translating to a growing opportunity within the private security industry. In his briefing to Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Police on the 2018/2019 annual crime statistics, Police Minister, Bheki Cele admitted that “While we are not where we want to be, we are definitely not where we were, there are glimmers of improvements.”


Gauteng and the Western Cape, in particular, saw a spate of mall robberies at the end of 2019, with shops in Cresta Shopping Centre, Key West Shopping Centre, the Mall of Africa, Bedford Centre, Kenilworth Centre, Cavendish Square, and Blu Valley Mall amongst others besieged by (generally armed) thieves that have left shoppers shaken.


Our local cybersecurity and economic crime figures too have continued on a steeply upwards trend. In fact, according to a recent IDC report, the global cybersecurity market is booming with security spend outpacing that of IT. The report states that worldwide security-related hardware, software, and services expenditure will reach $106.6 billion this year, an increase of 10.7% over 2018, and this amount will reach $151.2 billion by 2023.


Security giant, Kaspersky’s Advanced Persistent Threat (APT) reporting services show us the reasons behind this growth. The results of the company’s investigations confirm that African governmental agencies are most vulnerable to cyberattacks, with 61 cases being reported over the past two years.


Various sectors are targeted, including telecommunications, energy and IT companies and, while these sectors are attacked less frequently than governmental institutions, there are no signs of these strikes slowing down.


Ransomware headlines have hit the local news in a big way lately, including recent exposure on the South African actuality programme, Carte Blanche. In the space of one month (October 2019), South Africa’s City of Johannesburg was held to ransom in an attack that eventually cost the organisation around R50 million, with a number of local banks targeted with distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks. At the same time, hackers attempted to breach Equity Bank Rwanda's client accounts, and it came to light that Moroccan human rights activists had been targeted by hackers using sophisticated computing spying software.


In addition, fraud statistics from PwC’s Global Economic Crime and Fraud survey (2018) are also climbing, with the report saying South Africa’s rate of reported economic crime (77%) is higher than the global average of 49%, and reports from the South African Fraud Prevention Service (SAFPS) back these statistics up. These reports state that forged documents are the most reported instances of fraud in South Africa, with Employment Application Fraud coming in at a close second. The sector most affected is banking, with microfinance, furniture retail, and others following closely.


All of these challenges have placed security firmly in the top of the agenda for most African organisations, from smaller businesses right through to larger enterprises, and this trend is set to continue into 2020 and beyond.


“When one considers the increase in both physical and cybersecurity incidents, it should be generally understood that to guard against attacks of either kind, people will need access to expert analysis, predictive intelligence, and different types of protection,” says Sven Smit, Event Director at Specialised Exhibitions, a part of the Montgomery Group.


“In understanding this, it becomes clear that there is a continued need for one central place to bring together solutions to industry challenges along with a view to where the security industry is going.”


Securex 2020 will have something for everyone within and affiliated to the security and fire protection industries, with the added bonus of complimentary access to both A-OSH EXPO 2020, Africa’s occupational safety and health trade exhibition and Facilities Management Expo 2020, the focused trade expo for the Facilities Management industry.


“With a view to supporting Africa into the next decade, we’ll be bringing back the main Securex seminar theatre, filled to the brim with expert speakers in various security-related fields, and the Securex New Product display, which will showcase products that efficiently and cost-effectively address various physical and cybersecurity threats.”

Securex South Africa 2020 will also feature a strong focus on training and education, K9 Law Enforcement demos, more than 190 security-focused exhibitors, brand new drone demos, and more!


Securex South Africa 2020 will take place at Gallagher Convention Centre from 02 to 04 June 2020. For more information on becoming an exhibitor or sponsor of Securex 2020, please visit www.securex.co.za.

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