Following a recent armed robbery at its premises Axiz – through its CEO Anthony Fitzhenry – has started an initiative on Facebook to gather information on any and all ICT crime incidents with a view to co-ordinating action against this scourge by the industry, law and order agencies and government.
Any member of the ICT fraternity – vendor, distributor, reseller or end user – can log on to ICT Crime Watch on Facebook and report any kind of ICT-related crime they have experienced, witnessed or heard of, from hijackings, warehouse theft, office theft or personal theft.
With the relevant details, the industry can then co-ordinate action with the relevant authorities to help track stolen items through serial numbers or IP addresses.
Fitzhenry says that little has been done within the industry in terms of crime since the ICT workgroup of the Business Against Crime initiative was disbanded in 1997.
Now, he says, it is time for the ICT industry to come together and fight a scourge that is costing it literally hundreds of millions of rands annually.
"After the armed robbery at our premises, we started gathering intelligence both internally and externally and that is when we heard that almost every company in the industry has experienced some form of crime ranging from truck hijackings to warehouse robberies," says Fitzhenry. "We realised that it is an industry problem that we, as people that sell ICT face a major threat and that our customers face a major threat.
"But the industry itself was not getting together to address this problem at an industry level, doing things like tracking serial numbers and scanning IP addresses as stolen machines hit th Internet," he says. "There was no consolidated approach.
"So we decided to do things at a higher political level and that's the reason for the Facebook site," Fitzhenry says. "To phone around when something happens is too slow, so we looked at using technology that is available today – Twitter and Facebook, for example – to have a speedy, co-ordinated and appropriate response.
"It is the first repository for information around ICT crime and we have put a forensic team together behind it – we are building support around it," he says. "We want to make it an industry-driven initiative with a view to not only lobby law and order and government, but also to support and help law and order agencies to clear some of these cases."