South Africa welcomes new cybercrime legislation

Businesses in South Africa are reporting economic crime rates higher than any other country in the world, with cyber fraud cases expected to rise significantly in the coming years.

That stark reality is one that worries a quarter of the organizations currently operating within Africa’s second largest economy, as laid out in a 2018 survey by British accountancy firm PwC, which also found only a third of industry are actively defending against cyber-threats.

This landscape will remain unprotected if no mechanisms are brought into place – tools that, attorney Lisa Emma-Iwuoah thinks, begin with drafting cybercrime legislation.

“In South Africa, as in most countries, we have specific crimes related to fraud, which are already established in our law,” Emma-Iwuoah, who works with Cape Town-based Michalsons corporate law firm, told The Daily Swig.

“But there’s a gap where we can’t deal with crimes in the cyber environment.”

A 2018 report by McAfee puts the global cost of cybercrime at an approximate $600 billion – a figure that has jumped from the $500 billion estimated in 2014.

While crimes bear resemblance to illicit activity in the physical realm – whether it’s extortion, stalking, or forgery – the use of technology for offending has made clear the lack of tools available for prosecution.

“Especially in relation to bank fraud,” said Emma-Iwuoah. “Or when people are buying houses and sending the transfer cost to an attorney.”

Emma-Iwuoah explained how one all-too-common crime sees fraudsters spoof property attorneys’ email addresses in order to trick prospective homeowners into transferring money.

“This is one example of where cybercrime law is necessary, as it would make it easier to catch cybercriminals and to stop them from stealing from people,” said Emma-Iwuoah.

Data security and the access of data are other factors that do not measure up to their present-day definitions in legislation. ..Read More..

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