Major cyber fraud in SA private sector – security analyst

Philip Zwart, director for fraud investigation & dispute services at financial services firm, Ernst & Young, says there is a large amount of cyber fraud within the private sector that doesn’t make it into the press.

The statement follows the R42 million cyber heist on the Post Bank, a member of the Post Office Group, on New Year’s Day.

He noted private institutions, including local banks, as being major targets.

“It’s [cyber-crime] happening in the corporate environment in South Africa; it’s not only government organisations that are targeted – but it’s not reported for obvious reasons,” said Zwart.

Tom Scholtz, research vice president at technology research group, Gartner, says the current economic downturn has culminated in an increase in cyber-criminal activity.
Kwa-Zulu Natal, where Zwart is based, has seen a lot of recent arrests of syndicates working in the area.

“It can be beaten,” he said.

According to Ernst & Young, geographically there are areas where government is on top of cyber-criminal activity – but in other areas, government is playing catch-up in what is still a relatively new, but evolving criminal space.

But he insisted that this type of crime was not limited to government. “It is equally prevalent in the private sector,” he said.

Gartner said that governments are often targeted as a source of a sensitive information – including databases containing email, physical addresses, and even bank accounts. “Some activist-type hackers are only even interested in embarrassing governments,” Scholtz said.

Gartner said that the proliferation of devices in recent years has also opened up points of access for criminals.

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Major cyber fraud in SA private sector – security analyst