Tag: crime

South Africa’s most dangerous cities

National crime statistics offer only cursory indicators to understand crime levels. The second State of Urban Safety report, to be released on Wednesday, offers a city-by-city breakdown and seeks to understand why certain crimes thrive in different urban areas. Once again, Cape Town topped most categories of violent crime.

Nelson Mandela Bay and Buffalo City round out the top three in the list of South Africa’s most dangerous cities.

Compared to eight other cities, the City of Cape Town has the highest rates of murder, robbery and property-related crimes in South Africa, says a new report produced by the Urban Safety Reference Group (USRG), working with the South Africa Cities Network (SALC) and the GIZ-Inclusive Violence and Crime Prevention (VCP) Programme.

The key question is, why? “Cape Town’s urbanisation indicators are moderately serious, with a lower rapid population growth than Johannesburg and Tshwane, and a lower population density than Johannesburg and Ekurhuleni. Its marginalisation factors also compare very well to the other cities: Cape Town boasts the lowest level of poverty (as measured by the Human Development Index), the lowest income inequality, and the second lowest youth unemployment rate,” reads the report.

“An answer may lie in the disproportionate access to alcohol, drugs and firearms, which is more than twice that of any other city.”

The 2017 State of Urban Safety Report breaks down crime statistics in the country’s nine largest urban areas and puts them alongside subjective, social, structural and crime prevention strategies to add deeper insight.

Cities are responsible for a disproportionate amount of crime. The nine urban areas covered in the report are home to approximately 40% of the country’s residents, but they account for 77% of carjackings, 74% of vehicle thefts, 64% of aggravated robberies, 58% of residential robberies and 47% of murders. “These statistics show that cities are places not only of opportunity but also of inequality and high levels of violence and crime,” said SACN CEO Sithole Mbanga and GIZ-VCP programme manager Terence Smith.

The report pointed to key problems in Nelson Mandela Bay. Between 2014/15 and 2015/16 the municipality’s short-term increases in crime appeared worse than any other city. If they continue, interpersonal violent crime could reach Cape Town’s levels. Of the nine cities, Nelson Mandela Bay had the second highest murder rate, third highest robbery rate, and was fourth in assault and sexual offences. A key problem might be the city’s youth unemployment, the highest of any of the measured cities.

While residents reported low levels of fear and experience of crime in Mangaung, the city also has key problems. The report found it had the highest rate of sexual offences and second highest level of serious assault and property-related crime. Manguang and Cape Town were the only cities to record increases in the murder rate in the last decade.

Buffalo City has seen general declines in the crime rates over the last decade, like most cities, but it has problems potentially related to its service deprivation, high levels of informal housing, youth unemployment and income inequality. Buffalo City came in first for assault, second for sexual offences and third for murder.

Gauteng metros again faired surprisingly well. “Compared to the other cities, the City of Johannesburg’s crime rates are low to moderate, except for robbery where it ranks second,” said the report, suggesting the city must focus on reducing robbery, in particular carjacking and residential robbery, which Johannesburg had the highest rates of when the numbers were broken down. Despite the city’s reasonable successes on crime, residents still have “moderately high levels of fear of crime”. The report said Johannesburg’s crime issues are largely related to its lead position in rapid population growth and the effects of urbanisation and inequality. The city had the highest level of income inequality among the nine measured.

Ekhurhuleni’s challenges mirror Johannesburg’s. It had comparatively low rates of most crimes, but robbery was dominant and the city ranks second to Johannesburg in both population density and income inequality. “The City of Tshwane has the lowest murder, assault and recorded sexual offences rates of all the cities,” said the report. However, it still featured significant rates of robbery and non-violent property crime. Tshwane came in second after Johannesburg in terms of population growth, which could cause crime problems if poorly managed.

Crimes and the experience of crime are not the same within a city and one of the 2017 State of Urban Safety Report’s strongest points is its analysis on three hotspots – Johannesburg’s Hillbrow, eThekwini’s KwaMashu and Cape Town’s Philippi East. Each area has disproportionately high levels of crime compared to their cities and effective strategies in such hotspots could help reduce a city’s overall crime.

One of the most interesting results from interviews in the three hotspot areas is that residents significantly limit their involvement in public life and economic activity because of their fear of crime. In interviews, around 40% of respondents s from Hillbrow, KwaMashu and Philippi east said they are scared of running a business from home, passing forest or bushy areas, or letting their children play outside because of their fear of crime.

Interviews in the three areas revealed there are six core factors across the hotspots that lead to rampant crime:

There’s a lack of people who can deter offenders from committing crimes, such as police, security or community members;
Offenders’ obviously have their own motives;
They can isolate and target a victim;
They have access to weapons or transport to commit a crime;
There’s a dearth of close contacts who can convince someone not to commit a crime;
And, neglected spaces with poor infrastructure are more prone to crime.
“South African cities face a myriad of cross-cutting factors that drive violence and crime, including rapid population growth, social incoherence (family disruption), poverty, income inequality, (youth) unemployment and substance abuse,” reads the report.
It says South African cities do have progressive policies to combat crime, but it makes a number of recommendations.

The report says all city service delivery plans must take into account crime and safety issues. Plans shouldn’t just involve communities but all spheres of government, civil society and the business sector. It recommends that SAPS precincts align their boundaries to municipal demarcations. The level of crime data collected from cities must improve to inform policy planning and cities must allocate sufficient resources to improving safety and leveraging their efficiencies.

By Greg Nicolson for Daily Maverick

Unemployment pressures tempt fraud

With unemployment at its highest level, the youth are anxious, agitated and searching for creative ways to earn a living.

“In this environment, you cannot write off the temptation that confronts young people to commit fraud, when doors slam shut in their faces or do not even open in the first place,” says Manie van Schalkwyk of the South African Fraud Prevention Service.

The obvious temptation is CV doctoring, he says. By adding a few tweaks, candidates may make their application appear more professional than they actually are and increase chances for a job interview.

“Qualification fraud is simple enough to perform and with any luck an applicant may land an interview, even a job offer. But a few months into the job the employer will begin to wonder why the candidate’s skills and abilities do not match up to the qualifications he or she has presented on their CV. Questions will be asked. “When you are exposed as a fraud, you will have a criminal record,” Van Schalkwyk says.

For young people who are employed who wish to apply for store cards, credit cards or any type of credit, there is the temptation to stretch the salary or the length of time spent in a particular work place to increase their chances of credit approval or credit limit. Van Schalkwyk says, “Falsifying this information constitutes fraud.”

At another level, one of the first goals of a newly graduated student is to learn to drive and get a driver’s licence. So, they may be driving around in their parents’ or older sibling’s car, or they may have a car of their own.

In this case, the individual may wish to have car insurance. After phoning some insurance companies they may learn that their premium is higher than expected because of their lack of driving experience. They will persuade their parents to front for the policy, so that the policy is held in the parent’s name. This is falsely representing information as the younger person will be the primary driver of the vehicle being insured.

“A common illustration of this is alternative fact information given about who the regular driver of a vehicle will be,” says Deanne Wood, short term insurance ombudsman. “Older drivers pay significantly lower premiums than younger drivers.” The difference in premium can be significant.

“Certainly, significant enough to encourage consumers to provide inaccurate information about who the regular driver of a vehicle will be,” Wood says.

“Our office sees far too many claims being submitted where, for example, parents have represented that they will be the regular driver of a vehicle when in fact the vehicle was purchased by them for use by their child.

“Paying the lower premium is all well and good until a loss is suffered. Simple desk-top investigations using Facebook or other social media searches can all too easily reveal misrepresentations made by consumers who forget to cover their tracks when making misrepresentations to their insurance companies,” Wood adds.

Van Schalkwyk says, “Like all fraud, it’s only a matter to time until the perpetrators will be found out and could face prosecution. Starting out in a career with a criminal record is no way to build a future. I urge youth to stay on the right side of the law despite the many challenges of the current economic climate. Don’t put further obstacles in your path.”

Safety deposit boxes are not so safe

 

Those of us who don’t rent bank safety deposit boxes for our valuables probably imagine the set-up to involve fingerprint-accessed vault-like doors and a cobweb of alarmed beams, as in the movies.

It wasn’t quite like that, said one of the victims of the December 18 First National Bank Randburg branch heist in which 360 boxes were stolen.

“Zai” of Randburg, who did not want to be named, happened to be at the bank yesterday when most of the boxes were returned to the branch by what appeared to be a private security company.

Police found the empty boxes dumped near FNB Stadium in Soweto two days after the heist.

All the valuables, including watches, Krugerrands, and jewellery passed down generations were gone. Only documents such as title deeds were left behind.

Zai’s family had rented the box since about 2004, she said, and at the time of the theft were renting it at R120 a month.

“Ironically, it was quite a big deal for us to access our boxes,” said Zai, who last did so in October.

“You had to make an appointment at least 24 hours in advance.

“Someone would meet you and take you into a room, and lock the door behind you. I’d have to produce my ID, then he’d go into another room, a vault, where the boxes were kept, lock that door behind him and then pass my box to me through a slot in the wall.

“I never saw any of the other boxes. I opened my box with two keys, in my possession, and then I’d be left alone to do what I needed to do, and then I’d phone to say that I was finished, so they could take the box back into the vault.

“It seemed very safe and professional,” she said.

In early December Zai’s husband asked her to collect their six expensive watches from the box to have them serviced.

“But I was too busy and now they are all gone,” she said.

FNB’s safety deposit contract states the bank will not be legally responsible “under any circumstances for any loss or damage that may occur to the contents” and officials have said they had no way of knowing what was in the stolen boxes and urged clients to insure the contents of the boxes.

By Wendy Knowler for Timeslive

Online shopping is a convenient way to find, compare, and purchase items in South Africa.

However, as security breaches increase and attacks grow more sophisticated, buyers need to take greater care with their personal and banking information.

Besides standard security precautions such as keeping your operating system, anti-virus, and browser up-to-date, you should also keep the following security tips in mind.

Watch out for scam specials
If you get a promotional e-mail from a retailer, even one you are familiar with, never click on a link – ever.

That’s the advice from Adam Levin, author of Swiped: How to Protect Yourself in a World Full of Scammers, Phishers, and Identity Thieves.

Levin said two problems could occur:

The destination the link points to could contain malware used to steal your passwords.

You could be directed to a clone site that looks like the retailer’s, which is used to harvest your identity and credit card details.
Levin said shoppers must go directly to a shop’s URL and avoid following links from promotional messages.


Read reviews
Before using a store for the first time, Levin said buyers must read independent reviews to ensure the site is reputable.


Check the security certificate
Shoppers should always check an online store’s security certificate.

This can be done by clicking the lock icon next to the site’s URL in the address bar.

You can also take this a step further and test a site’s Transport Layer Security (TLS) using a tool such as the Qualys SSL Labs server tester.
Using public Wi-Fi or computers
While TLS helps protect against the dangers of unsecure networks such as public Wi-Fi, it is best to avoid shopping over public connections.

Similarly, users don’t know what software might be watching their activity on a public computer, so it is best not to use one when shopping online.
Re-using passwords
Another security mistake is using the same password on two or more Web sites.

This is to guard against an attacker only needing to get hold of a single password to get into multiple websites where you have registered accounts.
Saving billing information
If someone gets their hands on your password for an online shopping site and you have saved your credit card information, they might be able to buy items with your money.

Sites which save card and CVV numbers are prime examples.

Digital voucher codes or gift cards are a popular purchase among attackers in this instance.
Source: www.mybroadband.co.za

Kaspersky Lab experts have detected a new Trojan targeting Android devices that can be compared to Windows-based malware in terms of its complexity. Triada is stealthy, modular, persistent and written by very professional cybercriminals. Devices running the 4.4.4. and earlier versions of the Android OS are at greatest risk.

According to the recent Kaspersky Lab research on Mobile Virusology, nearly half of the top 20 Trojans in 2015 were malicious programmes with the ability to gain super-user access rights. Super-user privileges give cybercriminals the rights to install applications on the phone without the user’s knowledge.

This type of malware propagates through applications that users download/install from untrusted sources. These apps can sometimes be found in the official Google Play app store, masquerading as a game or entertainment application. They can also be installed during an update of existing popular applications and, are occasionally pre-installed on the mobile device. Those at greatest risk include devices running 4.4.4. and earlier versions of the Android OS.

There are 11 known mobile Trojan families that use root privileges. Three of them – Ztorg, Gorpo and Leech – act in cooperation with each other. Devices infected with these Trojans usually organise themselves into a network, creating a sort of advertising botnet that threat actors can use to install different kinds of adware.

Shortly after rooting on the device, the above-mentioned Trojans download and install a backdoor. This then downloads and activates two modules that have the ability to download, install and launch applications.

The application loader and its installation modules refer to different types of Trojans, but all of them have been added to our antivirus databases under a common name – Triada.

A distinguishing feature of this malware is the use of Zygote – the parent of the application process on an Android device – that contains system libraries and frameworks used by every application installed on the device. In other words, it’s a demon whose purpose is to launch Android applications. This is a standard app process that works for every newly installed application. It means that as soon as the Trojan gets into the system, it becomes part of the app process and will be pre-installed into any application launching on the device and can even change the logic of the application’s operations.

This is the first time technology like this has been seen in the wild.

The stealth capabilities of this malware are very advanced. After getting into the user’s device Triada implements in nearly every working process and continues to exist in the short-term memory. This makes it almost impossible to detect and delete using antimalware solutions. Triada operates silently, meaning that all malicious activities are hidden both from the user and from other applications.

The complexity of the Triada Trojan’s functionality proves the fact that very professional cybercriminals, with a deep understanding of the targeted mobile platform, are behind this malware.

The Triada Trojan can modify outgoing SMS messages sent by other applications. This is now a major functionality of the malware. When a user is making in-app purchases via SMS for Android games, fraudsters are likely to modify the outgoing SMS so that they receive the money instead of the game developers.

“The Triada of Ztrog, Gorpo and Leech marks a new stage in the evolution of Android-based threats. They are the first widespread malware with the potential to escalate their privileges on most devices. The majority of users attacked by the Trojans were located in Russia, India and Ukraine as well as APAC countries. It is hard to underestimate the threat of a malicious application gaining root access to a device. Their main threat, as the example of Triada shows, is in the fact that they provide access to the device for much more advanced and dangerous malicious applications. They also have a well-thought-out architecture developed by cybercriminals who have deep knowledge of the target mobile platform,” says Nikita Buchka, junior malware analyst, Kaspersky Lab.

As it is nearly impossible to uninstall this malware from a device, users face two options to get rid of it. The first is to “root” their device and delete the malicious applications manually. The second option is to jailbreak the Android system on the device.

Kaspersky Lab products detect Triada Trojan components as: Trojan-Downloader.AndroidOS.Triada.a; Trojan-SMS.AndroidOS.Triada.a; Trojan-Banker.AndroidOS.Triada.a; Backdoor.AndroidOS.Triada.

More than 720 litres of liquid methamphetamine have been seized in Australia – believed to be one of largest drug finds in the country’s history. The £620-million (A$1,26-billion) stash was smuggled from China and had been hidden in bottles of glue and inside gel bra inserts.

Police estimate it could have been used to create 500kg of high-grade crystal meth, which equates to about 3,6-million doses.

Some 190 litres of the drug was hidden in boxes of bra pads.

Four suspects from Hong Kong have been charged in Sydney over the import, and face a potential life sentence if convicted. They will appear in court next month.

Michael Keenan, Australia’s justice minister, described the seizure as “a devastating blow for the organised criminal gangs that peddle in ice (crystal meth)”.

The arrests followed a joint operation between the Australian Federal Police and the Chinese Narcotics Control Commission.

Source: www.news.sky.com
Picture: Sky News

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