• Cybercrimes on the increase

    Safety and integrity of people, firms at risk

    You better watch out, cybercrimes are on the increase and anyone could become a target.

    From the City of Johannesburg being hacked to a sex tape of a Durban woman, Sameera Naidoo, going viral, these types of crimes seen by criminals as “a legitimate source of income”, are sometimes social in nature, political or even just done to cause anarchy and to disrupt society, said Dr Craig Blewett, a lecturer at UKZN’s Information Systems and Technology Department. He said in certain countries, such as Nigeria for instance, people look up to criminals.

    The increase of cybercrimes could be attributed to an increase of people who are online and they tend to let down their guards to a certain extent when they are online. “The online world is becoming, for more people, the real world. You can’t always be vigilant,” he said.

    There is an increase in the sophistication of tools that criminal elements can get hold of. There are also online courses about them. “It has almost become like a career opportunity,” he said.

    Private investigator Rick Crouch agreed. Not only are cybercrimes on the increase but they are also getting more exposure than before, he said.

    “Fake Facebook profiles are being created to defraud people,” he said.

    However, there is always an electronic trail back to the criminal.

    Cybercrimes require specialty expertise to investigate. The sleuth needs a lot of training and has to have a good background in cybercrimes.

    Crouch also said it is time-consuming to investigate these types of crimes and very expensive. He said he often has people coming to him who have been defrauded on Facebook or through some sort of investment scam. Usually, the amounts defrauded is not very high, for instance, R5 000. Getting a case such as this investigated costs about three times more. This results in the victims not pursuing the matter further.

    When it comes to police, he said most cybercrimes are not investigated because there is a lack of expertise and capacity in the SAPS. “Most times victims are turned away because the police don’t know what to do,” he added.

    Simon Colman, executive head of digital at SHA Specialist Underwriters said that the company released a survey early this year that 20% of South African companies have fallen victim to an e-mail scam at least once, and 54% have been threatened with litigation afterwards. And, added Colman, according to last year’s global Cyber Exposure Index, SA currently has the sixth-highest average exposure to cybercrime, with businesses in the industrial and financial sectors being the most common targets of cybercrime attacks earlier in the year.

    Colman said: “All organisations, large or small, stand to lose substantially from litigation if their data systems are breached. It is therefore imperative that South African companies start taking out cyber liability insurance.”

    Maeson Maherry, LAWtrust’s chief solutions officer, said that cyber criminality is a modern phenomenon that is achieved through the infiltration of a company’s databases, networks, IT assets and sensitive information.

    “Cyber-attacks in the form of hacking, ransomware attack, Internet fraud, online identity theft and cyberstalking are threatening the integrity, safety and security of people and companies, big or small. These attacks are a great concern,” he added.

    Maherry said that cybersecurity ensures that a company can be protected from unauthorised access to its hardware, software and other Internet-connected systems. It can critically save a company from losing crucial information, credibility as well as money.

    For companies, the digital environment ought to be a secure space. By implementing the necessary cybersecurity tools to ensure safety, companies then become better positioned in protecting their resources and ultimately their place in the business world, added Maherry.

    TYPES OF CYBERCRIME ACTS
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    Fraud Hacking Identity theft Scamming Computer viruses Ransomware DDoS attack Botnets (A network of private computers infected with malicious software and controlled as a group without the owners’ knowledge, e.g. to send spam) Spamming Phishing Social engineering Malvertising (It typically involves injecting malicious or malware-laden advertisements into legitimate online advertising networks and webpages) Cyberstalking Software piracy Child pornography Cyberbullying

    • • • • • • • •

    Source: Weekend Witness
    Written By: sharika.regchand@witness.co.za

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