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How PAPSS is protecting client data from cyber threats

PAPSS will focus on deepening its West African presence while progressing moving to other regions of Africa as part of broadening its reach. It expects to be in the 5 regions of Africa before the end of 2023, with all Central banks signed up by end of 2024 and all commercial banks by end of 2025.

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Isaac OGANGA

PAPSS, the Pan-African Payment & Settlement System, formally acquired its certification against ISO27701:2019, an international standard for Privacy Information Management Systems.

This just comes months after achieving ISO 27001 certification, demonstrating PAPSS’ ongoing commitment to ensure stakeholders’ data collected and received for transaction processing are managed, shared, and disposed of in compliance with data security and privacy global best practices.

It also ensures that processing personal data at PAPSS complies with applicable data privacy laws.

“This certification provides a level of assurance to all stakeholders that information used to complete a transaction in different jurisdictions is processed and maintained securely and within applicable laws,” noted Mike Ogbalu III, CEO of PAPSS.

At a time when cross–border trading is high on Africa’s agenda, a single continental market makes it necessary for a homegrown payment gateway to facilitate trade and investment.

The system was adopted in July 2019 in Niamey, Niger by the African Union Heads of State as the payment and settlement system to support the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) implementation.

It is a Financial Market Infrastructure that has been developed and initiated through a collaborative effort of the AfCFTA Secretariat, Afreximbank, and the African Union Commission.

PAPSS is expected to create new financial flows and successfully facilitate trade and other economic activities among African countries.

During the PAPSS commercial launch in Accra, it announced that the pilot phase with WAMZ (West African Monetary Zone) central banks has been completed and all six Central Banks have tested and gone through their trial operations.

All the Central Banks became live on the system and have been sending through live transactions across the WAMZ region. Subsequently, we have signed up twelve of the largest commercial banks and four payment switches.

A few more central banks have joined the PAPSS network, extending the reach to the southern and eastern African regions.

Equally, 19 commercial banks have also signed the membership agreement, bringing us to a total of 31 commercial banks. In parallel, we signed an MoU with BUNA, the cross-border and multi-currency payment system owned by the Arab Monetary Fund (AMF).

This collaboration lays the foundation for the interoperability between PAPSS and BUNA payment systems, their participants will be able to make fast, secure, and affordable transactions in their local currencies between the African continent and the Arab region.

Cyber threats

A data breach occurs when the data for which your company is responsible suffers a security incident resulting in a breach of confidentiality, availability or integrity.

It also occurs when a cybercriminal successfully infiltrates a data source and extracts sensitive information. This can be done physically by accessing a computer or network to steal local files or by bypassing network security remotely. The latter is often the method used to target companies.

What is customer data breach? A personal data breach means a breach of security leading to the accidental or unlawful destruction, loss, alteration, unauthorized disclosure of, or access to, personal data. This includes breaches that are the result of both accidental and deliberate causes.

Social engineering “most dangerous” threat, say 75 percent of security professionals. In May, Cyber Security Hub research revealed that three out of every four cyber security professionals considered social engineering or phishing attacks to be the “most dangerous” threat to cyber security at their companies.

The risk isn’t just financial, reputational or legal—now even human life and safety are at stake. Cyberattacks in the first half of 2022 rose by 42% compared to 2021.

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