Cyber Crime in North Africa a 'New and Very Recent Trend'

Cyber experts with United Nations have cautioned about a recent trend in online attacks originating from  African countries.

“It is important to note that the  “˜minds' behind the crime organisations have recently moved to North Africa, which is a totally new and very recent trend,“ Francesca Bosco, of the United Nations Inter-regional Crime and Justice Research Institute, said in an interview with Express.

Detailing the geographical specialties in the evolution of cyber crimes, Bosco said 419 scams started in the 1980s with faxes being sent to companies and entrepreneurs.

“Nowadays, they have simply transplanted those attacks/fraud/scams onto the Internet,” she told Express. “Most of the phishing attacks that the UNICRI has observed and analysed are centrally managed – the “˜mind' of the attack will be in the back office, while the physical mechanisms used to launch the attacks may be located all over the world.”

The physical mechanism for online attacks can be found in locations such as Russia, Ukraine, South America, Northern Africa, and Central Africa. With increasing concern about cyber frauds through the Internet, ATMs and cellphones, RBI recently issued SMS warnings to the public.

“RBI does not keep individual/company/trust accounts or hold foreign funds for disbursal. Beware of such false messages,“ one of the messages said. Another one cautioned about depositing money in a stranger’s account or paying cash toward charges for receiving lottery/transfer of funds.

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