Data Driven Futures
Why do we cut corners

'Data is the new oil’ says security expert

Written by Peter Walker

Data is like a raw material and as valuable as oil, according to the head of Morocco’s cyber security authority, who urged increased awareness and collaboration to keep this precious commodity safe.

Colonel Major El Mostafa Rabii, director at maCERT, or the Moroccan Computer Emergency Response Team, told delegates at the HPS Powercard Users Meeting conference in Marrakesh that governments, regulators, businesses and citizens are all increasingly dependent on the internet and devices connected to it.

“Access to information online is part of our daily lives and livelihoods, which means that information is similar to a raw material and as important as oil,” he stated, before warning that: “All these systems have entry points, which are often left vulnerable to attack.

“Most people are not well informed about cyber threats,” Rabii added.

His key message was that national and international authorities need to integrate their efforts to tackle cyber crime, adopting “global strategies to identify critical risks”.

During the conference, HPS Worldwide’s chief executive Abdeslam Alaoui Smaili gave his views on security within the payments space, noting some of the potential drawbacks of emerging technologies.

“As a consumer, I know that if I lose my card I can get a new PIN,” he said. “I cannot do that with my fingers if they are compromised - it’s a real question to ask one day when we have this problem - it's not clear to mehow this would be resolved.

“We’ve also been told that quantum computing is coming, which renders our cryptographic security useless, so this will have to change,” Smaili pointed out.

Jeroen Holscher, head of global payments at Capgemini, argued that technology must always go hand in had with understanding the behavioural element.

“In terms of fraud, there will always be cases where technology can be broken, so it’s not only about technology, but combining it with behavioural elements reduces fraudulent activities significantly,” he said.