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Cyber crime, still a priority

"$10,000, Expert, Please, Help, are some of the common words that compose emails used to lure innocent victims by cyber criminals" says Longe Oluminde Babatope, a cyber-security expert from Nigeria. Longe adds that most of these emails are rich in vocabularies, when such words form 5% of an email, with special characters and different reply links, then these emails should immediately be marked as spam.

This was during his recent visit in Nairobi for a cybercrime conference organized by SavvyAfrica. He defines cybercrime as a subset of crime, committed using a computer system or any other ubiquitous internet based technology. Due to lack of jurisdiction in cyberspace, classifying the serial computer criminal is crucial in determining the underlying motivating causal factors.

Longe classifies cybercrime by analyzing the written, physical, and digital behavior that exists in various attacks and the importance for organizations to understand crime patterns. Due to the anonymous nature of cybercrimes, monitoring digital behavior and crime patterns of various attacks makes it easier to apprehend such criminals. "What motivates the criminals is therefore of great assistance to investigation and classifying cybercrimes", says Longe. Cybercrime falls under four categories namely;

• Cyber trespass (Crossing boundaries into other people's property and or cause damage, hacking, defacement, malware)• Cyber deceptions & thefts (stealing money or resources, credit card fraud, IP violations)• Cyber pornography (breaching laws of obscenity)• Cyber violence (psychological or physical harm to others, hate speech, stalking, cyber terrorism)

It is through social engineering, professional organization networks, inter-organizational and intra-organizational infrastructures that open opportunities for cyber attacks channeled through above mentioned categories without the knowledge of unsuspecting victims. They fall prey to such attacks because of greed, lots of gratification, and ignorance, this not only affects normal internet users but becomes a great risk to online entrepreneurs.

Faith Basiye Omolo, CFE KCB Group Forensic Services says, "Whereas the internet and advanced systems are expected to improve business operations, they also have created loopholes for cyber attacks and fraud". System fraud has become a new frontier because of the increased value of technological agility as a strategic tool, which online entrepreneurs face.?Perhaps employees are not aware of internet insecurities. To many organizations it is not a boardroom priority, for instance as per research done by Longe from the Cyber Security Academy Centre for Research Educational Advancement and Technology Evaluation in Ibadan, Nigeria depict the following statistics.

• A Jupiter Executive Survey in South Africa found that 29% of security practitioners rate the risk of cyber-attacks as "low."• In Nigeria, 5/7 businesses do not have a well-defined security plan in place against cyber attacks. • The Small Business Pipeline investigation in Uganda found that 73% of small businesses have no written security plan even though many estimate that any type of business interruption could cost the company upwards of $10,000 per day. • In Ghana, Internet security budgets are generally lower than required.

Organizations should train its employees on how to use computers at workplace and balance between efficiency and privacy. Employers should also include policies on internet use as part of employees' labour contracts. In addition employees also need to be trained on how to treat confidential information and essential passwords.

In case of any form of cybercrime attack, victims of internet fraud are advised to report to the Internet Fraud Complaint Center (IFCC) http://www1.ifccfbi.gov/index.asp.IFCC is a partnership between the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the National White Collar Crime Center (NW3C). It provides a convenient and easy-to-use reporting mechanism that alerts authorities of a suspected criminal or civil violation. For law enforcement and regulatory agencies at all levels, IFCC offers a central repository for complaints related to Internet fraud, works to quantify fraud patterns, and provides timely statistical data of current fraud trends.

In Kenya the Communication Commission of Kenya has formed a unit, Kenya Computer Incident Response Team (KE-CIRT) to assist in the development of the Kenyan information Society by making the use of computers and the Internet safer.

"The objective of the unit is to coordinate response to cyber security incidents nationally, and collaborating with regional & international entities in responding to cyber incidents", says Joseph Nzano, head of KE-CIRT Unit.


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