Cyber security conference kicks off in Cape Town

Johannesburg - Eighty percent of computers in Africa are infected with a virus, according to IT security solution company Panda Security. 

The statistic is one of the key focuses of a Town Hall Meeting by PCI Security Standards Council around cyber security, which kicks off in Cape Town on Wednesday.

The conference is hosted for the first time in Africa by PCI, a global forum for security standards in account data protection.

PCI chief technology officer Troy Leach told Fin24 that the increased use of technology in device security in Africa is of paramount importance. 

“In the late 90s 1 in 11 000 people had access to a laptop, today 1 in 2 people have access to a smartphone which has the same computing power as laptop back then,” Leach said. 

READ: SA cyber security firm fights mobile payment breaches

Leach said PCI chose to host the cyber security conference in South Africa after what he calls “an amazing growth of mobile payments.” 

“South Africa, while it is growing and now can serve the unbanked, needs the right security to be put be put in place. At the same time the security should not become a problem for merchants, who also need the technology to be secure,” he told Fin24. 

PCI also on Wednesday announced its plans to evolve the PCI Qualified Security Assessor (QSA) program to attract new cyber talent globally and ensure sustainability and quality in a changing payment environment. 

The initiative will be rolled out in phases, beginning in 2017 with a dedicated industry task force focused on the development of an Associate QSA certification. 

“With various payment methods available for customers and merchants, things like bank cards which have three methods of payment become more secure from card cloning, but at the same time hackers find new methods to breach their security,” Leach said.  

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