With the cyber crimes in Zambia, it is a relief that ZICTA (Zambia Information and Communications Technology Authority) and ZP (Zambia Police) have come together and launched the first cyber crime fighting lab based at the police headquarters in Lusaka. According to the ZICTA website, the equipment in the lab includes 3 laptops, 3 external hard disks, 2 computer forensic machines and 8 user computers.
Cyber crime is basically all the illegal stuff that takes place on the/via internet. The most common types of cyber crime are:
- Software piracy: Perhaps the most common for Zambians is how many movies, music and videos are downloaded from illegal sites as torrents without proper permission from the copyright owner of the production. It also includes the use of computer software programs that may have been ‘cracked’ and put on another computer, or shared with others.
- Web jacking: This is where hackers get to manipulate and hack into a website with access to the rights of that server. They are able to control the website and most of the time the website owner has to shut it down or create a new one. some hackers may even ask for money, like a ransom for the site, from the owner.
- Spamming and jack bombing: This is when emails come to you with links telling you you have won something or urging you to follow another link. These may affect your computer by installing malware and viruses on it, or hackers may be able to access your private information such as credit card and/or bank acccount information and use it to make transactions without your knowledge, until you start getting the bill.
- Phishing: Phishing is the process of obtaining personal information from people by tricking them into thinking they are providing this information to a legitimate party such as their bank or employer, when in actual sense this information is being received by criminals. Read more here.
- Online Identity Theft: We wrote about this in an earlier article. If a hacker manages to get your details, either by jacking or spamming you, they can pretend to be you especially in online transactions and may lead to financial fraud which you may be answerable to. It applies to social media as well. They may hack into your account and pretend to be ‘you’, which could be disastrous. Make sure you change online passwords every so often to avoid being hacked.
- Hacking: This is basically where most cyber crime starts. A hacker will get all your details by breaking through internet security firewalls and access your information. It always turns out badly for the person who’s been hacked. the most recent case in Zambia was a blind hacker (yes, blind) who managed to intercept the Airtel Zambia server to access airtime. He was caught and taken to court. I bet he didn’t see that coming!
- Pornography sharing: Perhaps one of the latest fads in Zambia is how many sex-tapes are making rounds these days or just obscene illegal material in general. So no more naughtiness will be tolerated on the Zambian web-space as the cops now have their virtual eye on everybody.
So we have hope for a better browsing experience as police staff have been trained on how to monitor and respond to any suspected cyber crime on the internet space in Zambia through this lab.
Speaking at the launch, Zambia Inspector General of Police, Stella Libongani, said that this will help the police enhance investigations into high-tech crimes which will eventually result in reduced cyber crimes in Zambia.
Later this year, ZICTA in partnership with the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) will hold the first training workshop called Cyber Drill in Africa between the 29th of September and 1st of October for Computer Incidence Response Teams (CIRTs) professionals on the continent.