SA loses US$310 million to cybercrime in 20 months

South Africa has lost R2.65 billion (US$310 million) to fraudsters, but maintained a recovery percentage of 75 percent to reduce the loss to R662.5 million (US$78 million), a report shows.

According to the South African Cyber Threat Barometer 2012/13 report, the government was the biggest loser with R1.5 billion (US$177 million) lost in the period. The telecommunication sector was the second with a R1 billion (US$117 million) loss. Financial services lost R150 (US$18 million) million during the period.

The report showed that the overall process of reporting cybercrime to law enforcement at a station level is highly inefficient. Higher levels of satisfaction were however reached dealing at a commercial branch level especially when based on established relationships.

“It was agreed that on average most perpetrators still exploit common vulnerabilities using repeated attack methods,” the report said.

This leaves small companies who experience cyber insecurity to defend themselves and recover through their personal means.

The report observes that the county’s position on legislative framework for information security is at a higher bar compared to other nations in Africa but simply lacks good implementation especially in the small to medium sector.

“The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) are only exposed to a smaller percentage of cases that are handed over by the police and less than 5 percent make it to court and are categorised as cybercrime,” the report said.

More needs to be done to achieve a comfortable level of defence from online criminals. The report looked at models used in the United States and the United Kingdom to come up with a tailor made solution to curb the menace.

Short term and medium term solutions were proposed: National Cyber Security Framework, SA Cyber Security Academy, Cyber Threat Research Programme, Establishment of a National CSIRT (Computer Security Incident Response Teams) and National Awareness Programme.

The South African Cyber Threat Barometer 2012/13 report by Wolfpack Information Risk detailed out the levels of cyber insecurity and the role the government plays in filling loopholes through legislation and technology.

This year has seen a big increase in cyber security threats even in African countries. In Kenya, PriceWaterhouseCoopers released a report that shows cyber-crime as the country’s fourth largest economic crime. Several African governments are also trying to put in place measures to curb this problem.

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