Ensuring the safety of citizens online

South Africa is among the highest ranked countries in the world that are aff ected by cybercrime.

What is more disturbing is that most attacks are no longer perpetrated by cyber geeks sitting behind computers,

but rather by automated programmes which can run constantly with the aim of exploiting opportunities in people, governments, businesses and societies.

“Criminal organisations are turning increasingly to the internet to facilitate their activities and maximise their profi t in the shortest time.

“The crimes themselves are not necessarily new – such as theft, fraud, illegal gambling and sale of fake medicines – but they are evolving in line with the opportunities presented online

and therefore becoming more widespread and damaging,” said Deputy Minister of Telecommunications and Postal Services Professor Hlengiwe Mkhize.

The Deputy Minister was speaking during the Public Sector Manager magazine Forum,

held in East London recently, under the theme National Cyber Security Awareness Month.

The month is used to raise awareness of cybersecurity and is a collaborative effort between government

Ensuring the safety of citizens online and industry to ensure that every citizen is safe online.

“Cybersecurity and cybercrime should be understood in the context of rapid deployment of networks.

For us, as government, the issue of cybercrime is a contradiction as we aspire to use technology to fasttrack Sustainable Development Goals,”

Ensuring the safety of citizens online said Deputy Minister Mkhize.

She added that the development of the information age for society offers great opportunities.

 “Technical developments have improved daily life. For example, online banking and shopping, the use of mobile data services

and voice over Internet protocol telephony are just some examples of how far the integration of ICTs into our daily lives has advanced.”

However, the growth in technological innovations and the increase in the number of people working online is accompanied by new and serious threats.

“Attacks against information infrastructure and internet services now have the potential to harm society in new and critical ways,” noted the Deputy Minister.

Cybercrime in South Africa Cybercrime costs the global economy billions of dollars.

In 2014, losses reached an estimated R5 billion annually. South Africa has not been spared the loss either.

The South African Banking Risk Information Centre estimates that South Africa is losing more than R1 billion each year to cybercrime.

“Our country is one of the top targets for cybercrime in Africa.

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