Watch out – cybercrime is on the increase
You spend a lot of time online; doing business, connecting with your mates and organising your daily life. The unfortunate reality is that criminals are taking more chances than ever, and they even lurk in the dark corners of cyberspace nowadays.
What is cybercrime?
Cybercrime is best defined as any illegal activities that are carried out using computer technology. The cyber thieves steal your data and, before you know it, you are in some serious trouble. These guys normally want two things – your credit card details and your personal details. They can then easily steal your money and impersonate you on different platforms.
Some of the most popular cybercrimes include computer hacking, identity theft, phishing, EFT fraud, scams, and social media profile cloning. The latest “trend” in cybercrime is ransomware. A hacker finds its way through your security software and encrypts files on your computer. The only way to get the files back is to pay the hijacker in crypto currency, like Bitcoin.
South Africa has the third highest number of cybercrime victims in the world, and victims are losing billions a year. What’s worse is software that adequately protects computers from viruses and hackers can be very expensive. Research shows that 79% of all cybercrime victims in South Africa end up losing money. But we’re not the only ones being affected. Around 52% of global internet users fall victim to these crimes.
Here are some tips to help you steer clear of cyber theft:
• Read about cybercrime. The more you know, the more likely you are to spot a chancer and the less likely you will fall for scams.
• Don’t use your social media profiles to log in to other accounts.
• Use strong passwords, with a variety of upper case and lower case letters, symbols, and numbers. Never write them down where other people can see them. You should also try to change them up every now and then. An example of a strong password is SouthPaper357#.
• Only use reputable online shopping sites. One thing you can do is look at the URL of the website. If it begins with “https” instead of “http” it means the site is secure. Also check with friends if they’ve heard of it or used it before.
• Be extra cautious when using Wi-Fi hotspots. Some scammers falsify popular hotspots.
• Don’t click on random links.
• Use good quality security software and a firewall on your computer, and update them regularly.
Cybercrime is rife in South Africa, but the good news is that the Cybercrime and Cybersecurity Bill was tabled in Parliament in 2017. It aims to protect personal data and make the online environment safer. It lists more than 50 cyber offences, accompanied by the penalties for those who fail to adhere to the new rules