It is very important that society, individuals and organizations use cyberspaces with utmost caution to minimize the catastrophic effects of cybercrimes.
Speaking at the launch of National Cybersecurity Awareness Month held on Monday, National Commissioner of Police who was represented by Deputy National Commissioner Mamsie Dlamini said remaining vigilant is the best way to prevent one from falling victim to cybercrime and keeping the cyberspace safe. Dlamini stated that cybercrime cases in the country manifest in different forms of criminal activities, mainly perpetrated through the use of technological devices such as computers and other electronic gadgets. He said that between the period of December 2020 and September 2021, an upsurge in the number of cybercrime cases and financial losses incurred was recorded compared to figures recorded last year for the same period. With COVID-19 pandemic the whole world is spending more time in cyberspace which has increased the number of cyber-attacks as criminals are always looking for new ways of engaging in crime.
Dlamini said the Royal Eswatini Police Service appreciates the launch of this campaign aimed at raising awareness on cybercrime so that more Emaswati can have a better understanding as they venture into cyberspace. He said the campaign would yield fruits long term and boost the country’s already ailing economy through offsetting the losses incurred. He said the REPS is beholden to Ministry of ICT and the Eswatini Communications Commission (ESSCOM) for spearheading this initiative targeted towards promoting good practices and behaviors in the online workspace for both individuals and businesses digital world.
The National Commissioner highlighted that is unfortunate to note that Emaswati continue to fall prey to online phishing and other related schemes. Cybercrime cases come in form of dubious online advertisements for commodities/ services perpetrated mainly through social media, hacking of electronic systems and misrepresentations made through phone calls. The use of cloned debit cards where cash withdrawals are made from ATM’s through cloned or skimmed bank cards are also on the rise.
Dlamini said it was delighting to see that #Tiphephise /#BeCyberSmart campaign resonates with INTERPOL’s recent public awareness campaign, curtailing the reduction of the global impact of cybercrime and driving up cybercrime awareness among its member countries, dubbed under the operational naming convention; the #JustOneClick campaign.
“Suffice to say, the staging of the #Tiphephise campaign to bring about a turnaround in fighting the dynamics of cybercrime could not have come at a more opportune time as it echoes INTERPOL’s Global Awareness Campaign on Cybercrime”.
The three week INTERPOL campaign focused on ransomware, phishing business e-mail compromise, online scams and basic cyber hygiene and it was aimed at sensitizing audiences on ways to mitigate and prevent cybercrime. Dlamini urged business entities and individuals to maintain high vigilance against internet fraud, through being cautious and check the authenticity of e-mail messages, by calling to verify whether the message received is genuine, to avoid committing and/or transferring funds to dubious so called suppliers.
Organizations should make smarter decision and build rigid cybersecurity firewall to repel cyber-attacks. When buying property businesses and individuals should be alert and always verify ownership for the purported property being sold such as homes, livestock and other commodities before making payments.
ESCCCOM Chief Executive Officer Mvilawempi Dlamini said cybersecurity has become such a serious concern and top priority amongst most governments and private sector institutions. He said Eswatini cannot be left out and be silent spectator in the fight of keeping cyberspace safe.
He said cyber-attacks (i.e. attacks on information and communication technology systems) have emerged as a global threat to economic stability and our way of life. Successful attacks on computer systems and networks supporting critical national assets and infrastructure could cause significant devastation to our way of life, cause financial loss, undermine public confidence, and cause major disruption to our economy.
Some tips to follow to avoid falling victim to cybercrime:
- To avoid ATM card Fraud and Skimming, please ensure that your card is always kept safe and the Personal Identification Number (PIN) stored in your memory.
- Do not open or share links that are suspicious or their origin is unknown.
- To pay attention to all our actions on-line even just a click.
- Remaining vigilant is the best way to prevent cybercrime and keep our cyberspace safe; Tiphephise, BeCyberSmart.
- Always verify information online and with trusted sources before committing any funds or personal information.