South Africa at risk of increased cybercrime

World Cup hosts South Africa could be facing a “perfect storm” of cybercrime as the country prepares for the event by improving its Internet infrastructure. A major upgrade to broadband capacity, including two new undersea fibre optic cables, should increase availability two-fold.

But in doing so, it may be opening the floodgates to cybercrime. “Over the years, we have seen a surge in malicious activity in countries introducing faster, cheaper, and more accessible broadband,” says Gordon Love, regional director for Africa at security solutions provider Symantec. “Our research has also shown that events such as the Olympic Games and the World Cup trigger online fraud, fake websites, phishing and spam attacks, and hacking.”

Egypt is a good example of this effect, shooting up to number one in EMEA during 2008 for malicious activity per broadband subscriber, after its government made broadband a major political priority. In 2007 it was not even ranked for malicious activity.

Spam and other cybercrimes are already rising in South Africa, with Scotland Yard recently uncovering 100 criminal scams relating to the World Cup there. Symantec is shortly to launch a website providing infromation on Internet threat activity directly relating to the football tournament.

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