With cyber crime costing South Africa R1-billion a year, extensive training for police, prosecutors, judges and magistrates was essential to stop online criminals worldwide.
At least seven countries, including South Africa, were part of the workshop on the integration of cyber crime and electronic evidence into the judicial training curriculum, being held in Johannesburg.
The Council of Europe (CU) in 2009 adopted a concept recommending that modules on cyber crime be integrated into training curriculum for law enforcement authorities, and at least seven countries requested help with combating online crime, said Manuel Pareira of the CU.
South Africa was one of the top ten countries seriously affected by cyber crime and it was the first time this workshop was being held on the African continent.
“These seven priority countries requested assistance from the council to improve their capacity, some are in the process of implementing legislation in their respective governments. Criminals know which countries are more vulnerable and are able to set up their networks and servers, causing repercussions for the whole world,” Pareira said.
He added that smaller countries were mostly targeted because of gaps in legislation, lack of effective law enforcement and poorly trained staff. Once the workings of a vulnerable country’s online system falls into the wrong hands, the whole region would subsequently become exposed to the criminal network.
The six other countries at the workshop were Morocco, Tonga, Mauritius, Philippines, Senegal and Sri Lanka.
Judge President of the Gauteng division of the high court, Judge Aubrey Ledwaba, said at least 320 judges and magistrates had so far received training on cyber crime. The training also included enhancing computer skills for the law men and women.
“The training is a ongoing project, some of those who received training are themselves trainers for others. The comprehensive training includes all areas of the judiciary.”
The workshop would play a role in ensuring that the respective countries’ judiciaries were equipped with the necessary skills and knowledge required to “effectively adjudicate over cybercrime cases in their courtrooms”.
South Africa’s draft Cyber Crime and Cyber Security Bill is yet to be passed by Parliament. The deadline for public comments for the draft bill was November last year. According to the Department of Justice, cyber related crimes were escalating and exceeded a costly R1-billion a year.
Well-known cyber offences included phishing through email or text message where hackers can crack passwords and steal financial data and other sensitive information. Companies, organisations and even government data can also be compromised through a lax internet system. In South Africa, most financial fraud is committed by online criminals.
The workshop, which is hosted by European Union and the Council of Europe in association with the South African Judicial Education Institute (SAJEI) is taking place in Johannesburg .
Source – enca