Hawks nab suspected hackers targeting SASSA in Nelspruit

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Three would-be hackers appeared in a Nelspruit magistrate’s court yesterday facing charges of corruption, fraud, conspiracy to commit an offence, and contravention of the Electronic Communications Act.

The Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (Hawks) in Mpumalanga is confident the accused will be locked away for a long time.

The trio – Matholeni Sydwell Masilela (40), Brian Mfundo Masina (28) and Moses Khumalo (36) – stand accused of conspiring to hack into the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) system to steal money.

According to the Hawks, the accused were plotting to pillage SASSA by hacking into the social security agency’s system.

The group was nabbed on Friday in Nelspruit through an “intelligence-driven” operation by the Hawks’ serious corruption investigation team, together with the cyber crime unit and SASSA.

The accused were in possession of an identified electronic device − which the hawks say would have been used to extract information − as well as a laptop, scanner and SASSA cards.

The trio was denied bail yesterday and the matter will be back in court on 3 August as authorities verify the addresses of the accused.

A vehicle belonging to the suspects was also seized during the operation, according to Mpumalanga Hawks spokesperson Captain Dineo Sekgotodi.

She tells ITWeb: “As the Hawks are capable to deal with fraud cases, we are confident to secure a good sentence.”

She says further investigations are under way.

According to Sekgotodi, attempts to hack into different systems have been on the rise in the province.

“Cases whereby the suspects tried to hack systems, fraud cases like ATM fraud and toll gate fraud are on the increase.”

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10 Aug
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