Police tackle cyber crime

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The SAPS must “lead a crusade” against online criminals who target women and children, says police minister Nathi Mthethwa.

Police minister Nathi Mthethwa has called on the police to “lead a crusade” against online criminals targeting women and children, ITWeb reports.
“Recent reports of children, who go missing as a result of being lured through cyberspace criminals posing as ‘friends’, often resulting in them being murdered, is very disturbing and requires a societal response,” says Mthethwa.

The minister’s statement follows the Department of Communications’ (DOC’s) decision to boost cyber security, through its draft Cyber Security Policy, and government’s plans to battle crime using technology-based solutions and partnerships.
“We are increasingly worried about incidents of children being abused [and] murdered, and vow to deal with this negative scourge holistically. As government, we have prioritised crime against women and children, and one of the proactive steps we undertook is the reintroduction of the specialised units to focus on crimes against women and children,” explains the minister.

SA has long been spared high levels of cyber crimes, since its Internet penetration levels have traditionally been low. However, with the introduction of new competitively priced access options, South Africans are increasingly falling prey to online predators.

Recently, the police captured four men who had kidnapped a Johannesburg girl. The men had reportedly lured the young women from her home in Kempton Park, through her Facebook page. The girl was rescued by police, because she managed to SMS her mother, with what she thought was her location.

In another incident last year, two men in their mid-30s were charged with the kidnapping and rape of a 14-year-old Pretoria girl, who met the men on the popular chat room application Mxit.

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The Film and Publications Board (FPB) says these kinds of incidents are likely to increase. The FPB runs a Web site to help parents educate themselves on the potential dangers of the Internet for children.

The FPB is also working on increasing education for both parents and children on how to be safe when using the Internet, with the board hoping to take this campaign into local schools.

Mthethwa says that, while the police will lead the charge, he also urges parents to keep a sharp eye on their children. “We appeal to parents to actively play a role in their children’s safety, particularly monitor whom they chat and socialise with. As police, on the other hand, we will have to intensify our efforts in apprehending these cold-blooded criminals.”

Legal force

The DOC’s policy does not directly look at predatory crimes that affect children; however, it does call for a task force to maintain SA’s online security presence.

The Information Security Group (ISG) of Africa is now working on a response to the policy to strengthen it and provide for certain aspects that need to be added to the document.

The ISG has been instrumental in the fight against crime locally, and has partnered with several local and international organisations to battle online criminals.

The organisation runs an online portal against e-crime, which targets organised crime affecting South African citizens and businesses.

The minister says e-crime is not the easiest to battle, but has vowed to clamp down on it with a concerted effort.

Pic: SAPS members

Source: www.itweb.co.za



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