Cybercrime is nothing new, but with the increase in South African Internet users there is a growing ‘underground Internet economy’ in the country with criminals preying on unsuspecting consumers.
This is according to Beaunard Grobler, Commander of the Cyber Crime and Cyber Intelligence units at the South African Police Service (SAPS).
Speaking at the 2010 ISPA iWeek conference Grobler said that they have seen a significant increase in cyber crime in South Africa with international cyber crime networks targeting the country.
Inspect your ATM before you withdraw money
According to Grobler they have seen a significant increase in Bulgarians coming in and out of the country before the 2010 World Cup, and it soon became apparent that their interest was not in soccer only.
The SAPS saw a big increase in sophisticated equipment being installed on ATMs which skims credit card details, records PINs and stores this information for later use.
Scammers will typically download this information on regular intervals from these ATM installed devices, and Grobler said that these cards are often used for fraudulent transactions within minutes after the information is sent to overseas crime syndicates.
Grobler urged iWeek delegates to always inspect an ATM before withdrawing funds, and inform their bank if they detect anything suspicious.
Online scams everywhere
Grobler warned that online scams are becoming more sophisticated and widespread in South Africa, with criminals using email, fake websites and even legitimate websites to catch unsuspecting Internet users.
Grobler highlighted a recent case where a Sex Trader advertiser was peddling much more than merely ‘sex’, and was actually using the platform for human smuggling and other crimes.
Grobler further advised extreme caution with online advertisements for pets where the seller asks for a deposit to seal the deal. These are often scams where the sellers give fake address details and pockets the deposits paid by buyers.
These are only two examples of a slew of scams popping up online, and according to Grobler they expect a big increase in social engineering, organized cybercrime and customized spyware in South Africa.
Grobler further believes that “Ransomware” will replace “Scareware” to get money from victims while mobile devices will be a new area for cyber criminals to target.
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