Survey finds cybercrime on the rise in Tanzania

October 5, 2014

Hackers are winning, according to a survey of 200 executives of Tanzania businesses, law enforcement services and government agencies. The second annual survey of cybercrime trends in the country found that online attackers determined to break into mobile devices, computers, steal information and interfere with business are more technologically advanced than those trying to stop them. Local and foreign researchers found out that three out of four respondents said they had detected a security breach in the last year, and the average number of security intrusions was 98 per organisation, the survey found. Despite substantial investments in cybersecurity technologies, cyber criminals continue to find ways to circumvent these technologies in order to obtain sensitive information that they can monetise,” said a detective I contacted, who is a member of Tanzania’s cyber criminal investigative division. The disturbing trend in cyber crime is the new and sophisticated methods of hackers using screen captures, keystroke logging and accessing victims personal files to take over computers in Tanzania businesses and private residence.In one high profile case in upmarket area of Masaki in commercial capital Dar Es Salaam, criminals infected the computers with malware that allowed them to monitor which computer keyboard keys users hit and by doing so they got access to their logons and banking and other details.

According to the detective, Tanzania companies and the government need to take “a radically different approach to cybersecurity,” which goes beyond antivirus software, training employees, working closely with contractors and setting up tighter processes. The top five cyberattack methods reported in the Tanzanian survey were network interruption, malware, phishing, spyware and distributed denial-of-service attacks. And 45 per cent of respondents said the attackers were insiders, either contractors or current and former employees or service providers, according to the study.The widespread use of the internet has brought with it a raft of traditional and new crimes that can now be committed in cyberspace. In the study, the most common Tanzanian cybercrimes range from banking fraud, hacking, money theft and laundering, cyberstalking, cyberbullying, identity theft, minor sexual exploitation and child grooming. However, the extent of cybercrime in Tanzania is difficult to quantify as it is generally underreported but authorities are doing all they can to encourage Tanzanians to report such crimes to the authorities.

Contador Harrison