South Africa suffered the most cyber-attacks on the African continent in just one year.
David Loxton‚ from Dentons SA‚ said often cybercrime goes unreported but research has found that it is growing rapidly.
In a statement‚ issued on Monday‚ he quoted recent figures from Symantec‚ a software security company.
Globally in 2015 more than 500 million personal records stolen or were lost and phishing attacks increased by 55%.
In 2014 South Africa had the highest number of cyber-attacks in Africa and losses were estimated at about R50-billion.
Loxton went on to say there were “shortcomings in the justice system’’ which posed a challenge when it came to cybercrime.
Police‚ he said‚ lacked “the resources and specialist skills to take on the complex‚ multi-jurisdictional investigations’’.
In addition laws used to prosecute criminals either do not exist or are inadequate locally and internationally.
“For all these reasons‚ prevention is definitely better than cure when it comes to cybercrime‚” said Loxton.
“Companies should be proactive about using technology to protect themselves and at least limit any damage. Thus‚ for example‚ intelligent software exists that analyses all financial transactions as they occur‚ so anomalies are immediately flagged for investigation. This kind of software can also provide deep analysis of company data to uncover some of the common white-collar frauds that can cost companies millions over long periods of time.
“The multinationals are definitely investing heavily in protective technologies but I fear South African companies are not‚ a short-term approach with potentially devastating long-term consequences.”
In October last year‚ however‚ John Jeffery‚ Deputy Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development‚ said they have been tasked with the “review and alignment of cyber security laws’’ and have been working on the Cybercrime and Cybersecurity Bill.
Speaking at an event‚ hosted by the South African Banking Risk Information Centre (SABRIC)‚ he said enhancing cybersecurity and protecting critical information infrastructure are ‘’essential to each nation’s security and economic well-being of a country’’.
In addition he warned: “Cybercrime activities are growing fast and evolving at a pace‚ becoming both more aggressive and technically proficient. As such‚ it is a major and growing threat to South African business’’.