The financial sector continues to be a magnet for frauds and cyber crime is becoming a major threat as increased internet usage gives rise to scams and data theft, a global survey has found.
Information technology experts say online banking creates fertile ground for frauds who use scams such as phishing to steal clients’ money after obtaining their account details.
Professional services company PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) says in its latest global survey on crime: "Most individuals and organisations rely upon the internet and connected technologies, opening themselves up to the risk of attack from global criminals from anywhere in the world."
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PwC partner Louis Strydom said up to 40% of respondents in SA had not received cyber crime training or awareness communications of any kind during the past 12 months.
About 46% saw cyber crime as an external threat, he said, warning that companies should recognise the potential internal risk of the crime and prepare themselves accordingly.
"We are experiencing comparable levels of cyber crime to our international counterparts. South African banks are at the forefront of technology and combating cyber crime, but continued vigilance is required," Mr Strydom said yesterday.
Criminals were posing as cellphone company representatives and tricking customers into switching off their phones while they tried to gain access to their bank accounts, the South African Banking Risk Information Centre warned recently.
"Our survey showed that cyber crime has been rising rapidly over the last two years. We also found that South African companies still have some way to go with regard to readiness," Mr Strydom said.
PwC said globally, embezzlement - particularly by senior executives such as directors and other employees in key positions - was another growing problem, as was external fraud.
Globally, 45% of organisations in the financial sector had suffered fraud in the past 12 months, compared with 30% in other sectors, while cyber crime was the second most commonly reported type of economic crime.