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South Africa ranked 5th on global cyber crime density list

Staff Writer
By Staff Writer, ITWeb
Johannesburg, 28 Apr 2023

South Africa’s cyber crime density – the percentage of cyber crime victims among a specific number of internet users – has increased by 8% from 2021 to 2022, which places the country in fifth position globally.

This is based on research by cyber security company and VPN provider Surfshark, which developed the Data Vulnerability Thermometer combining open-source FBI information and research algorithms.

Surfshark's report showed that 801 000 people fell victim to cyber crime worldwide during 2022.

In South Africa, 56 out of one million internet users were reported to have fallen victim – which equates to a total of 2 000 cyber crime victims.

The UK topped the list for cyber crime density with 4 371 cyber crime victims per one million internet users, followed by the US with 1 612 victims, Canada with 156, Australia with 106 and then South Africa with 56. 

While this number may seem low, it’s worth noting that it places South Africa higher than Greece, France, Germany, Mexico and Spain on  Surfshark's global top ten cyber crime density list.

Other highlights of the report include:

  • Phishing was the most prevalent cyber crime worldwide in 2022, with a victim count of 300 000 users, Surfshark found.
  • Online payment fraud was the second most common type of cyber crime, impacting 63 000 individuals, followed by extortion with 39 000 victims, tech support scams with 33 000 victims, and investment fraud with 31 000 victims.
  • Investment fraud cost the world US$3.3 billion, making it the most financially devastating cyber crime in 2022.

“While it may not have been as widespread as phishing, a significant 31 000 individuals were duped by investment scams," the report stated. "Tech support scams are second on the list with US$807 million in losses, followed by confidence or romance fraud (US$736 million in losses), online payment fraud (US$386 million in losses), credit card fraud (US$264 million in losses), and government impersonation (US$241 million in losses)."

In 2022, US$10.3 billion was stolen compared to US$6.9-billion in 2021 and US$4.2-billion in 2020.

Because of how lucrative cyber crime is, there’s no reason to think cyber criminals will stop striking anytime soon," said Surfshark spokesperson Gabriele Racaityte-Krasauske. "That’s why it’s more important than ever to be vigilant and build up your cyber security defences, which goes for businesses and individuals alike.