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02 April 2012 at 17:57 - Posted by Anonymous

Cybercrime to surge over Easter


Cybercrime in South Africa is expected to surge over the Easter weekend and companies should be on the alert.

That’s the warning from Pricewaterhouse Coopers’ director Trevor White, who addressed members of the Durban Chamber of Commerce this week.

Having just released the PWC 2011 survey on Global Economic Crime, White said that the Easter weekend and Christmas period provided white collar criminals with the perfect opportunity to loot the coffers and escape without a trace.

“We have seen a growing trend in cyber attacks over these two holiday periods. A business is most susceptible during these times as there is hardly anyone at work and money can be transferred through different bank accounts over four days, making it virtually impossible to trace,” said White.

Cybercrime falls under economic crime, alongside bribery, corruption and market fraud (such as price-fixing).

While there has been a 23 percent decrease in economic crime in South Africa since 2005, the survey results show that 60 percent of South African respondents had experienced some form of economic crime in the 12 months preceding the survey.

Bribery and corruption made up the lion’s share of economic crime at 42 percent, while the global average was 24 percent.

The most disturbing trend to come out of the survey regarding economic crime is that there has been “an alarming shift” in the perpetrator profile towards senior management, in both the public and private sectors. Internal attacks by senior management between 2009 and 2011 has more than doubled and included crimes such as tax fraud, market fraud and insider trading, while there had been a decrease in junior employees being involved in these types of crime.

And as business transactions and social interactions have moved online, cybercrime has come under the spotlight across the globe.

Cybercrime is easier to commit compared to “traditional” crime as it takes place from a remote location, leaves no physical traces or clues at the scene and there is less risk of injury.

Organised criminal syndicates are known to recruit technologically skilled individuals and according to PWC’s Senior Manager, Junaid Amra, there are websites which are essentially “supermarkets for cyber criminals”.

While cybercrime can originate anywhere, the survey found the top three countries perceived by South Africans as the likely originators are from Hong Kong (and China), Nigeria and South Africa. - Saturday Star

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