International fame, or is it infamy?

February 2013 News

How sad that the plight of the South African security industry makes it onto CNN in a short programme looking at the challenges the industry faces from its own government. It would be something to crow about if the programme praised our security companies and operators, but instead the broadcast was angled at the fear the industry has created in governmental circles.

Apparently the South African private security industry is the biggest in the world, employing around 400 000 people. With more operators than the police and military, and probably better training than many of them, it appears the security industry is perceived as a threat by our esteemed government.

At first it seems like a joke, but when considering the corruption at all levels of government, any even semi-law-abiding organisation with guns must be a threat. Perhaps that seems a bit cynical, but what other reason could government have for trying to hinder the operation of the second-largest employer in the country and a fairly effective anti-crime force?

The solution for government is actually quite simple. If you do not want to see the private security industry growing and succeeding in the way that it is, improve the police force and act against corruption. That way there would be no need for 400 000 private security operators and even less need for the hundreds of fly-by night operations that give the industry a bad name. But I suppose that solution is simply a fantasy.

Putting a value to malware

As you may have noticed, we are introducing a few articles on information security here and there in Hi-Tech Security Solutions. This is not a move away from our traditional base, but an acknowledgement that information security is becoming a more important component of an overall security solution.

One of the issues surrounding spending money on antivirus and anti-malware solutions has always been that of cost: what is the real cost, if any of a virus infecting a machine?

We have heard of large American companies that suffered millions in damages after one of the more famous outbreaks, but one always wonders how real those figures are. Well, I recently received some information from a CIO who could put the cost into a Rand value.

This company had one PC in one of its offices that for some reason did not have the company’s standard antivirus software installed on it. Within a few weeks of being installed, the PC 'caught' a Trojan. Fortunately, the servers and other computers in the organisation were protected so the malware could not spread, and it was caught quite quickly.

The fix, however, will cost about R2000 to clean the system and reinstall everything and get it back into productive use. Now that is a real value you can put on getting hit with malware and something to compare the cost of an antivirus package with.

Andrew Seldon, Editor


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