Maiden Information Technology Conference held for insurers

Group photograph of CEOs and participants

The maiden Information Technology Conference has been held at the Mensvic Grand Hotel in Accra organised by the Ghana Insurers Association (GIA).

At the May 24 event which brought together industry CEOs, cyber security experts, insurance groups and the media; Philemon Hini of the E-Crime Bureau demonstrated just how vulnerable users of phones, tablets and either laptops or desktops are because of their limited knowledge when it came to being cyber aware.

Touching on WhatsApp installed on phones, he displayed how one could clone the phone of a user and have access to his or her data on his machine including call logs, photos, videos, emails and other sensitive information.

Philemon Hini of the E-Crime Bureau

“You can buy a new phone or laptop in a box but it doesn’t mean it’s new and hasn’t been compromised,” the cyber security investigator revealed.

According to Mr. Hini, the global cost of cyber-crime in 2017 was $600 billion adding that for insurance companies not to be sorry, they must put in measures to protect their systems which ensures confidentiality, availability and integrity.

It emerged a way to be guarded was to update one’s social media apps regularly and keep a measured presence online to avoid exposing so much on one’s personal life and work.

Some of the threats include computer viruses (ransomware), third parties (vendors, contractors, and partners), data breaches and social engineering (spear phishing). Other threats involve identify theft, impersonation and blackmail.

Participants were briefed about dangers of downloading word and PDF files sent via email as it was a rich source of introducing a virus to a user’s machine.  While there are many anti viruses on the market, Mr. Hini’s demonstration showed not many were capable of detecting and containing a host of viruses.

And while others showed the file was safe to be open, it was only 4 which identified the attachment as harmful including Kaspersky. Mr. Hini stated there was need for insurance companies to hire cyber experts or companies to conduct cyber audits at their operational centres as any diligent insuring entity ought to know its threat level and vulnerability as well as engage professional cyber units to offer cyber assessment before offering insurance cover for clients so as not to be caught off guard.

With the theme being ‘Emerging Trends, Domain and Impact of Cyber Security Threats On The Insurance Industry, the Managing Director of Vanguard Life Assurance and convener of the technical committee of the GIA, Mr. George Kojo Addison submitted corporate entities have learned the hard way when hacked and millions lost on the need to invest in their cyber security.

He was of the view the conference bringing together industry people under the same roof ought to be an annual affair adding it is timely industry players are moving to digitilize their operations to remain relevant as well as attract and retain millennials.

The insurance sector faces cyber risk in receiving and storing data, making investments, collecting premiums and raising capital requiring robust systems to guard against intrusive attacks from hackers leading to huge losses.

It emerged the country lost $69 million through cyber-crime in 2017 with the loss increasing to US$105 million in 2018 through mobile money fraud and various forms of intrusive acts as well as blackmail.

Cyber-crime is on the rise globally with 43 million attacks detected with as many as 100,000 attacks recorded a day in 2013 with a yearly increase in cases by 30 percent.

In august 2016 anti-virus company McAfee estimated cyber-crimes cost $400 billion with projections that cyber-crimes can rise to $1 trillion.

Mr. David Ofori, Operations Manager of the Accra Digital Centre held that with the emergence of 5g, opportunities abound yet risk exists requiring planning must be advanced for containment.

He stated there can be hearing aid for the impaired as well as tool to aid movement of the blind with emerging apps and technology but insurance companies must be visionary and develop products which when insuring such constituents can withstand outrageous claims.

Mr. Ofori rendered IOT( the Internet of things is the extension of Internet connectivity into physical devices and everyday objects. Embedded with electronics, Internet connectivity, and other forms of hardware, these devices can communicate and interact with others over the Internet, and they can be remotely monitored and controlled) can be used in determining the concentration of mosquitoes in an area noting a business will then know risks which lie within and to identify innovations to offer as solution .

He held that the Accra Digital Centre was making impressive strides such that its tech lab was brimming with innovative minds coming up with products to solve a good deal of the country’s problems adding 3D printing was happening at the centre.

Notables in session for the conference include MD of SIC; Mr. Stephen Oduro, Mr. Samuel Theophilus Anakwa; Information Security Manager (Calbank Limited), Mr. Ernest Ofori Yirenkyi Director of Consultancy (Ag.) AITI-KACE, Ms. Abena Biney Audit Partner (Deloitte and Touche), DSP Emmanuel Eric Gyebi; Deputy Director Cyber Crime Unit (Ghana Police CID Department) and Mr. Andrew Fiifi Simpson; (MD, GN Insurance Company Limited).

Others are Mr. Solomon Lartey; (MD, Activa Insurance Company Limited), Mr. Yaw Adom Boateng; (MD, Nsia Insurance Company Limited) Mrs. Gifty Ama Fiagbe; (MD, Saham Life Insurance Company Limited), Mrs. Elizabeth Wyns Dogbe; (MD, SIC Life Insurance Company Limited), Mrs. Esther Osei Yeboah; (MD, Imperial General Insurance Company Limited), Dr. Gideon Amenyedor; (MD, JING Insurance Brokers), Mr. Patrick Agyekum; (General Secretary-ECOWAS Brown Card Ghana), Mr. Richard Okyere; (Director, Ghana Insurance College) and Mr. Ernest Frimpong; (MD, Loyalty Insurance Company Ltd.)

By Michael Eli Dokosi/goldstreetbusiness.com

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