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CYBER CRIMES ON THE RISE – ZICTA

Zambia Information and Communication Technology Authority (ZICTA) has observed a rise in the number of Cybercrime scenes in Zambia.

This observation was made according to the Cyber Matrix Database which is used to profile the perpetrators, victims and the possible vulnerability used in committing different cybercrimes.

According to a statement, ZICTA Corporate Communications Manager Ngabo Nankonde, this increase could be in relation to the rapid adoption and uptake in mobile and internet services in Zambia, coupled with globalisation which has created opportunities for both users and criminals.

“The rapid technological advancements have led to an increase in cybercrimes such as spamming, phishing, identity theft, online scams, pornography, online violence, online defamation, cyber bullying, computer related fraud, and computer related forgery and other interrelated crimes,” Ms Nankonde said.

Ms Nankonde revealed that Since January 2019, ZICTA recorded 791 complaints regarding social media abuses adding that the authority is cognizant of the fact that while the 791 are the cases reported to ZICTA, there were other cases that consumers experienced in 2019 which were not reported to the Authority.

She said the prevalence of social media usage and the ability to interact anonymously were two of the biggest reasons why cybercrimes on social networking sites went wild in Zambia.

It was also observed that pornography-related cases were the most reported followed by cyber bullying.

“It is worth noting that about 74% of the cases logged in were from 209 women, while only 64 men lodged in their complaints. The reason for the gender variation in the number of people who lodged in complaints was partly because women appeared more vulnerable than men on various social media platforms,” she confirmed.

Ms Nankonde also added that Social platform attacks targeted websites with large user bases such as Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter and Instagram.

She said these social platform attacks were able to breach users’ accounts by stealing their authentication credentials upon log-in, information which was then used to discreetly pull personal data from users’ online friends and colleagues.

The statistics showed that the victims were mostly those that use the platforms for social networking and leisure. The age group which is mostly vulnerable were from the age group of 22 to 25, 36 to 40 and 16 to 21.

She said going forward, the Authority expects members of the public to exercise maximum personal responsibility, self-regulation as well as respect for other users when using social media platforms.

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Written by Maria Mwaba

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