SA’s cyber crime smoking gun

The days of ignoring or under-estimating the threat of cyber crime ‒ as individuals or businesses ‒ are over.

The days of ignoring or under-estimating the threat of cyber crime ‒ as individuals or businesses ‒ are over.

Published Jun 22, 2024


Durban — Whether as private persons, employees or businesses, everybody needs to take cyber security more seriously.

The days of using spouses’ names, dates of birth and “P@ssword” are long gone.

As are the days of using the same password for all accounts.

University of KwaZulu-Natal Professor Manoj Maharaj points out that while cellphone networks have successfully rolled out internet coverage across the country, there has been little in the way of education to help people safely navigate the wide world they have been given access to.

And with South Africa coming fifth in the world for cyber crime, criminals have certainly taken note.

With the convenience of having banking available at our fingertips, of being able to order virtually anything with a few keystrokes, comes great risk of falling prey to cyber attacks.

Where several multinational companies – which spend millions of dollars each year installing and maintaining multilevel cyber security systems, and repelling cyber attacks – are still hacked, the ordinary private user is a soft target.

The internet and cellphone service providers, and banks, must do more to ensure people understand the risks inherent in using the products they offer.

No cellphone or computer should be sold without a leaflet explaining cyber security being included, and the buyer being taken through the basics.

While parents should certainly take responsibility for educating their children, the education department can play an important role here too by making cyber security part of the Life Orientation syllabus.

And it is not just money that is at stake, but lives too. A cyber attack on a pathology service in the UK has led to hundreds of operations being cancelled over fears that patients’ medical information was compromised.

Professor Maharaj correctly likens internet access to acquiring a car or a gun, both of which require training and licences to be used.

The internet and cyber security should be taken as seriously.

Independent on Saturday