Cybercrime numbers are on the up, and South Africans are not immune to this growing threat.
Some of the statistics are frightening. Banking app losses increased by more than 88% last year to an average loss of R14,253 per transaction. Online banking losses increased by more than 44% last year to an average loss of R32,298 per transaction and there are nine malware attacks that occur every second in South Africa.
“The increasing prevalence of cybercrime warrants appropriate insurance cover so that consumers have a level of peace of mind that should they be affected, they can take advantage of a safeguard,” said Jonathan Lindeque, head of business and personal insurance at GIB Group which offers personal cyber insurance.
Cybercrimes include theft of funds resulting from hacking of a bank account (South African Android mobile phones were the second most targeted in the world for banking malware), payment cards or mobile wallet; identity theft; cyber extortion; network security liability resulting from a cyber incident on computer systems (including IoT devices) which causes harm to third party systems and data; privacy and data breaches and cyberbullying.
Lindeque said the growth of cyberbullying is hugely worrying. The average age of a cyberbully is aged nine and approximately 58% of victims do not tell a parent or teacher. Cyberbullying can result in anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, or feelings of worthlessness.
“We have included a trauma benefit for cyberbullying as a direct result of the cyberbullying, cyberstalking or the publication of harmful material. The treatment of emotional trauma by a licenced professional is often required but victims don’t always have the financial resources to pay directly for therapy and it isn’t always covered by medical aid,” he said.
When children are concerned, additional unforeseen costs as a direct result of cyberbullying, cyberstalking or the publication of harmful material may burden parents or caregivers with expenses such as additional costs for school fees, school uniforms and educational material should it be established by a licensed physician or psychologist that an insured child needs to be placed in an alternate school.
Identity theft is also a significant issue. Someone’s identity is stolen every two seconds.
GIB said there are several ways to protect yourself:
- Don’t disclose personal information such as passwords and PINs when asked to do so by anyone via telephone, fax or even email.
- When destroying personal information, either shred or burn it.
- Don’t carry unnecessary personal information in your wallet or purse.
- Store personal and financial documentation safely and keep items such as passports locked up.
- Don’t write down PINs and passwords and avoid obvious choices like birth dates and first names.
- Don’t use internet cafes or unsecure Wi-Fi (at hotels, conference centres etc.) to do your banking.
- Use strong passwords for all your accounts.
- Change your passwords regularly and never share them with anyone else.
- Verify all requests for personal information and only provide these when there is a legitimate reason to do so.
- Make sure a website is encrypted before you use it for a financial transaction. Typically, you’ll see a picture of a lock in the URL field, and the URL will contain “https,” meaning it’s secure.
- Teach your children about safe internet behaviours – including how to spot potential scams and phishing attempts.
- Alert the SA Fraud Prevention Service immediately on 0860 101 248 or at safps.org.za if your ID documents are lost or stolen – register for credit and identity theft monitoring and obtain a case number from SAPS.