Cyber criminals come to Africa for 'backdoor' into European systems, conference hears

Nic Rudnick (Pic: Carin Smith)
Nic Rudnick (Pic: Carin Smith)

There appears to be a growing trend where cyber criminals come to Africa with new broadband networks in order to hack into systems in Europe and elsewhere in the world, according to Nic Rudnick, group CEO of Liquid Telecom.

At a briefing during AfricaCom on Tuesday, he said cyber criminals find security in Africa to be weaker.

"This offers them a back door by coming to Africa and using systems to get into European systems, for instance," said Rudnick.

"Security is, therefore, becoming an increasingly important component also for use of the cloud in Africa."

Liquid Telecom announced at the briefing that it has extended the availability of the cloud-based Microsoft Azure architecture "from the Cape to Cairo". To Rudnick one of the benefits, especially to African SMEs, would be that these cloud services are now becoming affordable and accessible in Africa.

For Rudnick the importance of this one-stop offering is that for the first time the cloud will actually be hosted in Africa as opposed to being hosted in Europe or Ireland and just accessed here.

"To me that is really what cloud and digital transformation mean for Africa. It is a game changer," said Rudnick.

"If I look at the sales we are achieving in terms of the cloud, they have been picking up. We started to see quite a rapid uptake, much faster than in previous years."

He said feedback he had obtained indicates that people in Africa are starting to look at the cloud as more than just a storage device and also at its computing ability.

That is why he emphasises that cyber security in this regard is becoming more and more important.

"One thing about the cloud is it is dependent on a fast, reliable network, because if the network goes down what then? People cannot run downstairs to the basement anymore and give the server a 'kick'," said Rudnick.
"That is why we will roll out fibre in each country we are in. Our overall vision is to be a pan-African network. We don’t just go to a country to plant a flag in it – there has to be a business model."

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