MTN, Vodacom, Telkom and Cell C join forces to take on criminals

 ·25 Jan 2022

South Africa’s leading telecommunication operators – including MTN, Vodacom, Telkom SA, Cell C and Liquid Intelligent Technologies – have established a non-profit organisation, the Communication Risk Information Centre (Comric), which seeks to better protect their network investments and advance the country’s participation in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

Comric will primarily focus on the sector’s collective identification, mitigation and prevention of the common risk issues within the industry with a key focus for 2022 centred on critical infrastructure network vandalism, commercial crimes and cyber security, said chief executive Vernall Muller.

“The formation of Comric has enabled formal discussion and solution finding between operators to handle the risks they face. It has also created a platform through which we will engage society on issues of related crime and support the government in the overall fight against crime in South Africa.”

In the last two years especially, the criminal gaze has shifted to the South African telecommunications operators, Muller said. The economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and the advent of load shedding and related power cuts are factors that have also contributed to this upsurge, he said.

“Telecommunications infrastructure which is the backbone of the information age is particularly vulnerable to attack and this escalating crime has translated into loss of service and network integrity.

“The industry recognises that criminals do not discriminate when it comes to which network, they target. As such, collective working as the Telecommunication Industry provides benefits in terms of risk management for all operators irrespective of market share. The opportunity exists for creating a safer environment that may lead to uninterrupted customer experience in the telecommunication space.”

Read: The best and worst mobile networks in South Africa

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