South Africa in top five countries affected by cybercrime in 2022

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South Africa ranked number five globally in a list of countries worst affected by cybercrime in 2022, according to a new report, with 56 000 out of every million internet users being a victim.

This means that last year, 2 000 South Africans fell victim to cybercrime, according to cybersecurity company Surfshark.

The company reported that South Africa’s cybercrime density rose by 7.8% from 2021 to 2022, resulting in the country’s rise to 5th place compared to 6th in 2021. “The increase in cybercrime incidents in South Africa highlights the need for increased cybersecurity measures. Phishing was the most prevalent cybercrime worldwide in 2022, while investment fraud proved to be the most financially devastating,” Surfshark stated.

“Last year, 801 000 people fell victim to cybercrime worldwide, resulting in a total of ten billion dollars in losses. Because of how lucrative cybercrime is, there’s no reason to think cybercriminals will stop striking anytime soon. That’s why it’s more important than ever to be vigilant and build up your cybersecurity defences, which goes for businesses and individuals alike”, said Gabriele Racaityte-Krasauske, Surfshark spokeswoman.

The UK topped the list for cybercrime density with 4 371 cybercrime victims per 1 million internet users, followed by the US with 1 612 cybercrime victims per 1 million internet users, Canada with 156 victims per 1 million internet users, Australia with 106 victims per 1 million internet users and, finally, South Africa with 56 victims per 1 million internet users.

What are the most common cybercrimes globally?

In 2022, phishing continued to be the most common cybercrime in the world with the highest victim count in the world – 300 000. Online payment fraud was the second most common type of cybercrime, impacting 63 000 individuals, followed by extortion with 39 000 victims, tech support scams with 33 000 victims, and investment fraud with 31 000 victims.

What are the most financially devastating cybercrimes?

Investment fraud cost the world $3.3 billion in losses in 2022, making it the most financially devastating cybercrime in 2022. While it may not have been as widespread as phishing, a significant 31 000 individuals were duped by investment scams. Tech support scams are second on the list with $807 million in losses, followed by confidence or romance fraud ($736 million in losses), online payment fraud ($386 million in losses), credit card fraud ($264 million in losses), and government impersonation ($241 million in losses), according to Surfshark figures.

$36.4 billion were stolen by cybercriminals since 2001, and yearly losses have been on an upward trend throughout this whole period. In 2022 alone, $10.3 billion were stolen by cybercriminals, compared to $6.9 billion in 2021 and $4.2 billion in 2020.