Cyber Crime; A threat to Zambia’s economy and the MDGs

A recent report in Zambia Daily Mail “Cyber Crime: a Threat to Economies” connects te rise of internet and globalization to the rise of cyber crime throughout the world. This growing surge pose a global threat, affecting developed as well as developing countries including Zambia. Zambia’s population frequently uses  email, chat rooms, social networks, and other forms of global communication. This opens the doors to cyber crimes. A report published by the Global security Agenda states the cyber threats use computer networks to harm the reputation of individuals or organizations and include issues such as copyright infringement, fraud, hacking, account thefts, identity thefts, computer viruses, unsolicited mail known as spam, and other on-line crimes. They report that cyber crime is responsible for loses of more than US$105 billion worldwide annually.

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In Zambia, the Police Service’s Cyber Security Bureau (CSB) arrested a Lusaka resident while his Australian accomplice bolted after stealing US$ 235,000 from people who wanted to buy cars on-line in 2010. The Deputy commissioner of Police at the time responsible for ICT, Solomen Jere, said the suspects had been stealing large amounts of money from un-knowing online car buyers. This was done using false advertisements on the internet inviting people to buy cars online. Other cyber scandals in Zambia include those who have fallen victims to fraudsters using exchanges of emails and phones calls to swindle money, claiming there were jobs or other offers available, demanding bank account numbers and other personal information. Another common crime involves “sexting”. This practice, very popular among the younger population and part of the problem is that once the picture is sent, they lose control  and the pictures go viral on the Internet. As a result scholarships and other opportunities have been lost. Kids are also often used as middle men, to access private computers and accounts.

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In Zambia, the authorities say US$582,000 has been set aside for combating online criminal activities. Further steps are being taken by partners with the countries newly established partnership with International Telecommunications Union (ITU) to establish a watch and warn centre with a computer system which will regulate mail activities on the internet. Such actions have been seen on a regional level as well, with the South African Development Community (SADC) meeting to develop a harmonised legal framework, combining the ideas of  Botswana, Mauritius, South Africa and Zambia. The goal is to allow for continued use of ICTs to reach the millenium Development goal, with out enabling the threat of Cyber Crime to get in the way.

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One response to “Cyber Crime; A threat to Zambia’s economy and the MDGs

  • laurag063

    Scary!!! This summer, my bank intercepted a fraudulent hacker who had been spending tons of money on my debit card, which I thought was something would never, ever happen to me. This was the first time I had a tangible experience with cybercrime, and through my it I learned how real these issues are and how irritating they are to reverse. Cyberwarfare is a whole other form of modern combat that I think will only grow to be more complex and sneaky as technology evolves, unfortunate as that is.

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