Minister of Communications Dina Pule. Picture: PUXLEY MAKGATHO
Minister of Communications Dina Pule. Picture: PUXLEY MAKGATHO

THE Department of Communications is appointing cyber inspectors as mandated by the Electronic Communications and Transactions Act, Communications Minister Dina Pule said on Tuesday at a seminar on the Future of Privacy at the University of Pretoria.

Cyber criminals are increasingly attacking South African consumers and businesses.

In its 2012 Norton Cybercrime Report, security software maker Symantec said cyber crime was growing at rates never seen before, and now affected 556-million victims a year around the world.

Professional services firm Deloitte also said in a recent report that threats posed to organisations by cyber crime were increasing faster than potential victims — or cyber-security professionals — could react, placing targeted organisations at significant risk.

South Africa’s cyber inspectors will monitor and inspect any website or activities on an information system in the public domain.

"They will report any unlawful activity to law enforcement or other appropriate authorities," Ms Pule said. "The cyber inspectors will act as support to already existing structures in law enforcement in terms of monitoring cyber crime."

The department has also presented the National Cyber Security Policy Framework to the Cabinet and is establishing a cyber-security hub that will manage a computer security incident response team.

Ms Pule said the department had also formulated a draft cyber-security awareness strategy with the help of stakeholders. The aim is to "sensitise and educate the South African population on the dangers that are lurking in cyberspace".

"These include threats such as identity theft, fraud, stalking, online child pornography and bullying," Ms Pule said.

In a report released last month, the Information Security Group of Africa and Wolfpack Information recommended that South Africa establish a national cyber-security academy to identify skills and competency levels within the country to fight and prevent cyber crime.

The top cyber services targeted are internet banking, e-commerce sites and social media sites. The most common attack methods are still phishing, the abuse of system privileges and malicious code, the report found.