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By Cheryl Kahla

Content Strategist


SA under siege: Gov calls for global help to combat cybercrime

South Africa loses approximately R2.2 billion per year to cybercrime. Parliament has called for global cooperation.


Parliament has called for global cooperation and legislative instruments to combat the rise of cybercrime in South Africa.

Doris Dlakude, the deputy chief whip of the National Assembly, said she agrees with the Standing Committee on Peace and International Security’s draft resolution, which was released earlier this year.

Cybercrime resolution

The draft resolution (finalised in January 2023[1]) was presented at the 146th IPU Assembly currently underway in Manama, Bahrain.

The paper calls for the condemnation of all forms of cybercrimes and attacks, and reaffirmed the need for global intervention to develop effective legal frameworks.

Global assistance vital

The paper calls for governments worldwide to note the importance of protecting its citizens in cyberspace “with new infrastructure and resources, in the same way as in the physical world”.

During the Forum of Women Parliamentarians meeting on Monday, Dlakude said cybercrime goes beyond financial and economic loss.

She explained: “It also degrades trust amongst internet users and damages the reputation of public and private service providers”.

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SA third-biggest cybercrime target

However, Dlakude said the fight against cybercrime “must not be used to dismantle human rights and fundamental freedoms, including the right to privacy”.

To that extent, countries the world over must “strive for a proper balance between security concerns and respect for human rights,” she said.

We are not exempt from this – South Africa had the third-highest number of cybercrime victims worldwide in 2020, according to a report by Accenture.

R2.2 billion lost to cybercrime

Even though South Africa ranks 25th in the world’s population, we experience approximately 577 cyber attacks each hour.[2]

This results in a loss of R2.2 billion per year. As per the report, 79.5% of all cybercrime in SA is credit-card related.

CNP (card-not-present) fraud was the leading contributor to gross fraud losses in South Africa. The threat is higher here because South Africa has lower defense barriers.

Cybersecurity laws in SA

Addressing these issues on Monday, Dlakude said the escalation of cybercrime in South Africa elicited legislative intervention in the form of the Cybercrimes Act and the Protection of Personal Information Act.

But while these acts make South Africa’s data protection and cybersecurity laws compliant with international norms, more is needed to address the rise of cybercrime.

“We remain hopeful that these remedial measures […] will yield positive results in our fight against these attacks.

“In conclusion, South Africa supports the adoption of the draft resolution,” Dlakude said.

READ: Cyber attacks: Negligence, poor systems make South Africa cyber crime heaven


References:

[1] Cyberattacks and cybercrimes: The new risks to global security; Standing Committee on Peace and International Security, C-I/146/DR, J. Cepeda, S. Falaknaz; 17 January 2023.
[2] Insight into the cyber threat landscape in South Africa; Accenture, May 2020

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