Friday, January 11, 2013

Africa: New Haven For Cyber Criminals?

Even though that notorious “Nigerian Prince” may be lying low for now, will Africa’s newly improved internet infrastructure make it the new haven for the world’s cyber criminals?

By: Ringo Bones

That notorious “Nigerian Prince” may have had his day of victimizing millions of unwary internet surfers during the first decade of the 21st Century cyber security experts now predict that Africa – with a now newly upgraded internet infrastructure via newly set-up fiber optic cables and power plants – could become the next haven of choice for the world’s cyber criminals. And unlike that notorious “Nigerian Prince”, those cyber criminals may not even be native residents on the African continent but more often than not are by cyber criminal syndicates based in Eastern Europe or South-East Asia that program their so-called bot-nets to hijack unsecured computers and internet hubs physically located on African soil.

The likely victim of those newly established cyber criminals using the African continent as their very own “pirate haven” will be European Union based web-surfing citizens. Given that ¾ of Europeans now use the internet as their primary way to conduct monetary-based business and commercial transactions – compared to only 1/3 of the rest of the planet, Europe’s online business transactions could be the so-called “low-lying” fruit that cyber criminals could exploit of if its online security infrastructure is not upgraded to be resistant to cyber crime.

Troels Oerting of the European Cyber Crime Center says in a recent BBC interview that Africa’s continually improving internet infrastructure now make the continent a prime home-base of choice of the world’s cyber criminals. And given that Europe is now increasingly reliant on internet based commerce, cyber crime has been costing European Union citizens and companies collectively on average 1.5 billion euros a year. The newly upgraded office of the European Cyber Crime Center or EC3 in the Hague now features a Faraday Cage shielded computer room to study how sensitive data could be hacked by cyber criminals plus other R-n’-D labs for forensic analysis of cyber crime incidences.

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