The experiences and impact of digital humanities and social sciences with regards to informatics in terms of computing solutions, with the regard of cybercrime and their impact in South Africa.
The proposed study will attempt to investigate digital humanities and social sciences through the motion of cyber-crimes and experiences of such within South Africa, where specific attention will be placed in regards to accessing stored communications (hacking) and individuals and organizations who have experienced attacks of such cybercrimes. The study will investigate how the experiences of cybercrimes has impacted South Africa as a country. Therefore the study will be conducted using a qualitative methodology which thus involves collecting data in the form of spoken words or languages, this will therefore be based on personal interviews that therefore involve a semi -structured interview and content analysis. Moreover the study framework will be conducted using a descriptive-interpretive (hermeneutics) paradigm which one can argue, focuses on the experiences of individuals. Therefore this method would be appropriate in order to facilitate a clear, reasonable, rich understanding of the experiences and impact of cybercrimes in South Africa.
1. Defining Cybercrime
Cybercrime is seen as a means of illegal acts which involves the commission with the regard to use of information and communication technologies. It can be therefore be in terms of a computer/ cybercrime in object of (hacking, phishing or even spamming) or a tool used to commit an offense such as ( child pornography, hate crimes and drug trafficking ). Therefore it is extremely hard to order wrongdoings .One can argue, even in reality wrongdoings like assault, murder or robbery require no discrete means, however cybercrimes are done often without individuals or organizations knowing. Moreover all cybercrimes include both the use of personal computers and the individuals behind it as casualties, it just relies upon which of the two is the primary target.
In addition subsequently, the use of personal computer in terms of cybercrimes have been taken a view as either an objective or apparatus for effortlessness in purpose. It is critical to observe that covering happens and in large it is difficult to have an impeccable characterization framework as it serves as an umbrella term that covers many great possibilities as to the types of crimes that is experienced by individuals through their own personal means.
2. History of cybercrime in South Africa
In South African cyber-attacks have become more advanced and frequent over the years, therefore it is said that South Africa is considered to be one of the most affected countries of cybercrimes in the world costing the economy an estimated R5 billion which vast amount of attacks coming from major intuitions and actors . Moreover cybercrimes syndicates have operated in two different cyber attacking methods namely phishing which is the attacks of individuals and whale phishing which focus on an organisation. This form of attacks are often used in what is called ‘social media engineering’, to which an individual’s social media information is gathered from statuses or posts that are used to attack individuals , ultimately leading to hacking through the means of stored communications .Moreover in South Africa cybercrimes not only affect the general public to be victims of crime but also companies and corporations are becoming more at risk of cybersecurity breaches which they risk exposing financial and customer data together with the damage of their network and IT infrastructure. It has been estimated in 2016 almost 9 million South Africans were victims of cybercrime according to the study done by security company Norton. Moreover cybercrimes in South Africa has become a growing issue in both public and private sector thus effecting all sectors of society including businesses, government, individuals through the use of the internet and its services.
2.2 Hacktivism in cyber crimes
Hacktivism a common element of cybercrime and in particular to which has greatly impacted many South Africans and is a growing and popular movement in the cyber world. The word ‘hack’ is essence is generally used to describe the use of cyber technology, most often computer systems and the word ‘actvism’ means social or political change. Hacktivism is generally carried out by individuals or organizations who operate because of shared values or a particular philosophy. Hackers don’t only operate for finical or criminal gain but also particular cases of injustice that they identified, such was noted in 2016 when South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) suffered a hacktivist attack on twitter, which stated the protest of new censorship and to which the broadcasting corporation was taken offline. Moreover whilst hacktivism might not amount to a finical means it often ambigious and controversial with regard to its several meanings , however in essence any invasion of ones privacy through the use of illegal means of technology amounts to cybercrimes.
2.3 Cybercrime attacks in South Africa
In addition cybercrimes has vastly impacted South Africa at large particularly hacking has played a major challenge to many South Africans together with large business and government organizations being victims to such activities by criminals. An example of such incident occurred in 2014 when South African Police Service (SAPS) website was hacked by a hactivist group, which allowed the hacker to download personal data on individuals who were assisting the police. Thereafter such information was made aware to a public website to which the hacker stated, that the attack was due to lack of action in arresting of police personnel who were involved in Marikana shooting in 2012. Moreover the hack had exposed a severe flaw in online data management which allowed easy prey for accessing stored communications.
Furthermore in 2017 the Minister of Home Affairs Ayanda Dlodlo had called hawks to investigate a criminal syndicate operating within South Africa on social media , that had created a fake account on social media in her name to which advertised fake government deals to which she had actual dealing in. Therefore one can argue that in South Africa hacking of one’s personal information, businesses and government organizations through the use of technology through the use of internet has collectively undermined the country’s ability to secure its people and sovereignty .
3. Reasons for cybercrimes in South Africa
In South Africa the main reasons as to why such incidents of cybercrimes takes place is due to element of corruption and particularly the human element that amounts to the many incidents that the country faces. Moreover in many cases much of the cybercrime activities are done through hackers who are provided with such information through inside sources or through hoax elements to trick others. Furthermore hackers use many sites and doggy email addresses to purse their victim, in order to gain access to their personal banking accounts and investments an example would be tab nabbing where fake sites are set up that look legitimate to gain access to login details before your redirected to actual site, in doing so hackers can now long into several other accounts and receive information. In addition cybercrimes can also amount to various other criminal activities such as electronic harassment to which people are threated through the means of text messages, calls and emails however the purpose of the research aims specifically to cybercrimes of hacking.
3. Struggles of cybercrime victims
The internet users in South Africa are estimated to have lost over 70% of their money through the hands of hackers in cyber activities which leaves these victims out of pocket for money, to which only a small fifty-three percent say they will be reimbursed by banks for cybercrime. Moreover cybercriminals are always on the lookout for new ways to exploit and defraud consumers, as a result not many are kept in the light on how to safe guard themselves and are often victims to cyber hackers. Fast development of online banking and investments makes it easy for hackers to gain information but puts a strain on individuals and organizations to move ahead with the times without falling victim. According to a reported case in 2013 by Norton revealed that approximately 12 people fall victim to cybercrimes every second of the day thus showing more and even more cybercriminals who are actively exploiting convenience, speed and the use of internet to commit diverse range of criminal activities to many South Africans not only just causing a monetary loss in particular.