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SA sees cyber crime explosion
By Nadine Arendse
Johannesburg, 2 Nov 2011

The cyber crime rate has grown substantially and continues to do so, with sharp rises in sophisticated, targeted attacks.

This is according to Mark Eardley, channel manager at SuperVision Biometric Systems. Eardley was a speaker at the ITWeb/Ideco IDentity Indaba, which took place at The Forum, in Bryanston, this week.

A UK study revealed that industries suffered losses amounting to more than ₤7 million in the mining, financial services, software and IT services, and electronics and electronic equipment sectors.

Economic pressures also make people desperate, Eardley said. Cyber villains are mostly insiders, although they may include foreign intelligence services and large organised crime networks, he told the audience.

EFT fraud has reached epidemic proportions. A study by consulting and advisory firm, PricewaterhouseCoopers revealed that no organisation is immune to cyber crime, and 62% of South African organisations are targeted by 'insiders', Eardley noted. The South African Police Service has seen a 56% increase in 'white-collar' crime from 2006, Eardley told delegates.

Numerous real-life cases exist to illustrate the reality of cyber crime in SA. In August 2009, Vodacom reported that insider fraud cost the organisation R8 million, he said. Government, too, is not immune to cyber threats; the Mpumalanga Education Department reported that R5.5 million was stolen from insider password fraud, he continued.

The level of sophistication involved in cyber crime is also increasing; organisational details have become more valuable as a result of their content, Eardley said. Symantec reported that in 2005, there were just over 100 cyber attacks per year; today, that figure is 28 000 per year, he noted.

SA has a unique socio-economic environment with high levels of unemployment and a lack of successful prosecution for more “intelligent” crimes, said Michael Lotter, MD at Stanley Security.

The availability of better bandwidth was also one of the factors that he mentioned as a possible reason for the increase in cyber crimes in SA.

Mark Eardley
SuperVision Biometric Systems

Michael Lotter
Stanley Security

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