South Africa has the third highest number of cybercrime victims worldwide, previously revealed the South African Banking Risk Information Centre. Photo: Kacper Pempel/Reuters
Cape Town - Cybercrime will be added to crime statistics next year as police gather more expertise and knowledge about this threat.

National police commissioner General Khehla Sithole said the cybercrime strategy was at an advanced stage. He said they had travelled to China and Thailand to learn more about it.

“It’s highly technological in nature. We are developing more cybercrime capacity in crime intelligence. We will have the stats next year,” Sithole said.

Sergey Novikov, deputy director of the global research and analysis team at Kapersky Lab, said collaboration and shared intelligence between police forces and cyber security companies was the only way to combat the rise of cybercrime.

Novikov was visiting the city this week to raise awareness on cybercrime trends. He said the country had become a cybercrime destination.

“There are no borders online, so it’s hardly surprising that cyber threats are borderless too it’s a worldwide issue. These threats don’t target just governments and infrastructure, but other organisations and even individuals. Some victims are targeted directly, others are collateral damage,” he said.

Novikov said a united community against cyber threats that knew no borders was needed.

“All over the world cyber criminals develop their tactics and tailor fast. We can see similarities among the attacks everywhere”

He said there were multiple methods used in cyber attacks, some focused on ordinary internet users and others on organisations.

Novikov said cybercrime attackers did not care who they victimised.“Their aim is to compromise as many victims as possible to maximise their profits. Targeted attackers are more selective. Typically, they know their victims, or at least choose them for very specific reasons - typically to steal sensitive business information relating to the victim or the industry in which they operate.

“Attacks often start by tricking victims into doing something that jeopardises security - their own or their employer’s. This could be clicking on an attachment, clicking on a link or disclosing sensitive data that provides attackers with access to systems.

“The dramatic growth in the number of attacks and the increasing professionalism and focus of attackers means that there is no such thing as easy protection. Thus, we now live in a world where the question isn’t whether you will be attacked, but when, and how quickly and completely you can recover,” he said.

According to Novikov almost 40% of South Africans store passwords insecurely, with 17% writing them in a notepad so that they don’t have to remember them, which also puts their security at risk.

About 15% of users use just one password for all accounts - allowing them to live their online lives seamlessly.

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