Cybercrime in South Africa

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Cybercrime is generally defined as any form of criminal activity involving the use of computers and the Internet. Also refered to as computer crime, electronic crime, e-crime, netcrime and hi-tech crime.

Below is the specific text of the Electronic Communications and Transactions (ECT) Act 25 of 2002, relevant to the criminal offences:

CHAPTER XIII

CYBER CRIME

Definition

85.
In this Chapter, unless the context indicates otherwise—
“access” includes the actions of a person who, after taking note of any data, becomes aware of the fact that he or she is not authorised to access that data and still continues to access that data.

Unauthorised access to, interception of or interference with data

86.
(1) Subject to the Interception and Monitoring Prohibition Act, 1992 (Act No. 127 of 1992), a person who intentionally accesses or intercepts any data without authority or permission to do so, is guilty of an offence.
(2) A person who intentionally and without authority to do so, interferes with data in a way which causes such data to be modified, destroyed or otherwise rendered ineffective, is guilty of an offence.
(3) A person who unlawfully produces, sells, offers to sell, procures for use, designs, adapts for use, distributes or possesses any device, including a computer program or a component, which is designed primarily to overcome security measures for the protection of data, or performs any of those acts with regard to a password, access code or any other similar kind of data with the intent to unlawfully utilise such item to contravene this section, is guilty of an offence.
(4) A person who utilises any device or computer program mentioned in subsection (3) in order to unlawfully overcome security measures designed to protect such data or access thereto, is guilty of an offence.
(5) A person who commits any act described in this section with the intent to interfere with access to an information system so as to constitute a denial, including a partial denial, of service to legitimate users is guilty of an offence.

Computer-related extortion, fraud and forgery

87.
(1) A person who performs or threatens to perform any of the acts described in section 86, for the purpose of obtaining any unlawful proprietary advantage by undertaking to cease or desist from such action, or by undertaking to restore any damage caused as a result of those actions, is guilty of an offence.
(2) A person who performs any of the acts described in section 86 for the purpose of obtaining any unlawful advantage by causing fake data to be produced with the intent that it be considered or acted upon as if it were authentic, is guilty of an offence.

Attempt, and aiding and abetting

88.
(1) A person who attempts to commit any of the offences referred to in sections 86 and 87 is guilty of an offence and is liable on conviction to the penalties set out in section 89(1) or (2), as the case may be.
(2) Any person who aids and abets someone to commit any of the offences referred to in sections 86 and 87 is guilty of an offence and is liable on conviction to the penalties set out in section 89(1) or (2), as the case may be.

Penalties

89.
(1) A person convicted of an offence referred to in sections 37(3),40(2), 58(2), 80(5),82(2) or 86(1), (2) or (3) is liable to a fine or imprisonment for a period not exceeding 12 months.
(2) A person convicted of an offence referred to in section 86(4) or (5) or section 87 is liable to a fine or imprisonment for a period not exceeding five years.

CHAPTER VII

CONSUMER PROTECTION

Unsolicited goods, services or communications

45.(1) Any person who sends unsolicited commercial communications to consumers, must provide the consumer
(a) with the option to cancel his or her subscription to the mailing list of that person; and
(b) with the identifying particulars of the source from which that person obtained the consumer’spersonal information, on request of the consumer.
(2) No agreement is concluded where a consumer has failed to respond to an unsolicited communication.
(3) Any person who fails to comply with or contravenes subsection (1) is guilty of an offence and liable, on conviction, to the penalties prescribed in section 89(1).
(4) Any person who sends unsolicited commercial communications to a person who has advised the sender that such communications are unwelcome, is guilty of an offence and liable, on conviction, to the penalties prescribed in section 89(1).

ONLINE FORMS

General Crimes
SAPS.gov.za Reporting Page – South African Police Service selected reports
Crimeline.co.za Reporting Page – A Primedia initiative for reporting activities

Child Grooming and Pornography
Fpbprochild.co.za Reporting Page – A Film and Publication Board initiative for reporting online incidents

Scams
Scambuster.co.za Reporting Page – An independent site for posting scam content online

EMAIL ADDRESSES

Attacks against Critical Infrastructure
ecs-csirt@comsecmss.com – National Intelligence Agency

Child Abuse/Images
childprotect@saps.org.za – South African Police Service

419 Advance Fee Scams
419scam@saps.org.za – South African Police Service
hq.commercial@saps.org.za – South African Police Service

Phishing
phishing@sars.gov.za – South African Revenue Service

NB: When forwarding an email to authorities, ensure that you include the email header which contains valuable information. Retrieve, copy and paste the message header by using these steps (for most common email services):
Gmail: Open the message. Select the options arrow next to “Reply”, then “Show Original”
Yahoo: Right-click the message. Select “View full header”
Hotmail: Right-click the message. Select “View message source”
Outlook: Open the message. Go to “File”, select “Properties”, then select “Details”, and then “Message Source”
Outlook Express: Open the message. Go to “File”, select “Properties”, and then “Details”