First National Bank (FNB) has announced that users will no longer be able to save their online banking passwords in their browsers.

Going forward, whenever a user wants to log into their account they will have to do so manually.

This forces users to keep their banking passwords secure.

“All stored passwords on your device can be viewed during a malware attack. Passwords can be easily accessed on your unattended/unlocked/stolen device,” FNB stated in a MyBroadband article.

FNB advises that users do the following to keep their passwords safe:

  • Do not share login details with anyone
  • Always use a different password for different websites. Avoid using the same one over and over
  • Report any fraudulent activity immediately to the FNB Fraud Centre: 087 575 9444
  • This change may interfere with various third-party password lockers such as LastPass

By Kaye Wiggins for Bloomberg / Fin24 

Barclays, Citigroup, HSBC, JPMorgan and three other banks are set to be fined by EU antitrust regulators in coming weeks for rigging the multi-trillion dollar foreign exchange market, two people familiar with the matter said.

JPMorgan Chase & Co. and UBS Group AG are among five banks being sued over allegations of foreign-exchange rigging in a class-action lawsuit seeking more than £1bn ($1.2bn or just over R17bn).

Barclays, Citigroup and Royal Bank of Scotland Group are also among the targets of the United Kingdom suit that will say pension funds, asset managers, hedge funds and corporations lost out because of market manipulation between 2007 and 2013 and should be compensated.

The lawsuit centers on collusion on foreign-exchange trading strategies, for which the European Commission fined Barclays, RBS, Citigroup, JPMorgan and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, a total of €1.07bn in May. UBS escaped a fine because it was the first to tell regulators about the collusion.

JPMorgan and UBS declined to comment. The other banks didn’t immediately reply to calls or emails seeking comment.

Traders ran two cartels on online chatrooms, the European regulator said. Many of them knew each other, calling one chatroom “Essex Express n’ the Jimmy” because all of the traders but one met on a commuter train from Essex to London. Other names for rooms were the “Three Way Banana Split” and “Semi Grumpy Old Men.”

It’s the latest development in a case that’s already triggered regulatory probes around the world, and billions of dollars in fines as well as $2.3bn (R32.69) in settlements in the United States last year.

“The message is really clear – we want markets to work fairly,” said Michael O’Higgins, a pension fund chair who’s spearheading the UK suit. “People involved in markets will argue the case for free markets. They’ve got to make sure they’re fair as well as free.”

The case will be filed in the Competition Appeal Tribunal in London by Scott+Scott Europe, whose US arm Scott+Scott Attorneys at Law led the class action that ended with $2.3bn in settlements.

O’Higgins, who chairs the Local Pensions Partnership, a UK public sector pension fund, and the Channel Islands Competition & Regulatory Authorities, said that on a conservative estimate the banks may have to pay out £1bn (R17.5bn) if he wins.

The lawsuit could take three to five years, he said, and thousands of institutional investors could be in line for payouts if it succeeds.

It’s one of the first cases to be brought under 2015 UK legislation that paves the way for US-style collective actions. The Consumer Rights Act rules mean any UK based investors who lost out will automatically become part of the claim. Investors based outside of the UK – except those in the US, Canada and Australia – can opt in.

City Power hit by virus

Johannesburg residents using pre-paid electricity have been left in the dark after a computer virus hit City Power, rendering users unable to purchase electricity.

The utility’s spokesperson, Isaac Mangena, was cited on News24 as saying “the virus had attacked its database and other software, impacting on most of its applications and networks”.

This resulted in City Power customers being unable to upload pre-paid electricity to their meter boxes.

The City Power website is also affected by the virus.

Mangena also stated that City Power hoped to have resolved the problem by midday on Thursday.

By Warwick Ashford for Computer Weekly

The cost of a data breach has risen 12% over the past five years to £3.2m on average globally, with a 10.56% increase in the UK in the past year alone to £2.99m on average, a study reveals.

In the UK, the average size of a data breach has increased 3.6% and the per capita cost per lost or stolen record is £119, which represents an increase of 9.69% from 2018 and has nearly doubled in the past ten years, according to the annual Cost of a data breach report conducted by the Ponemon Institute and sponsored by IBM Security.

The rising costs are representative of the multiyear financial impact of breaches, increased regulation and the complex process of resolving criminal attacks, the report said.

The report based on in-depth interviews with more than 500 companies around the world who suffered a breach over the past year, including 45 in the UK, and takes into account hundreds of cost factors including legal, regulatory and technical activities to loss of brand equity, customers, and employee productivity.

The study found that data breaches in the US are the most expensive, costing $8.19m (£6.6m), or more than double the average for worldwide companies in the study, and that the cost for data breaches in the US has increased by 130% over the past 14 years from $3.54m (£2.8m) in the 2006 study.

The financial consequences of a data breach, the report said, can be particularly acute for small and midsize businesses. Globally, companies with fewer than 500 employees suffered losses of more than £2m on average, which is a potentially crippling amount for small businesses, which typically earn £40.1m or less in annual revenue.

The report also examined the longtail financial impact of a data breach, finding that the effects of a data breach are felt for years. While an average of 67% of data breach costs were realised within the first year after a breach, 22% accrued in the second year and another 11% accumulated more than two years after a breach.

A co-ordinated global cyber attack could have an economic impact of up to $193bn, an insurance industry-backed report claims.

Most businesses are not applying common encryption tools effectively to contain the fallout and costs of data breaches, research shows.

Despite the danger posed by cyber attacks to mid-sized companies, boards are not prepared to manage the risk and firms are over-confident in their cyber capabilities, report finds.

The longtail costs were higher in the second and third years for organisations in highly regulated environments, such as healthcare, financial services, energy and pharmaceuticals.

“Cyber crime represents big money for cyber criminals, and unfortunately that equates to significant losses for businesses,” said Wendi Whitmore, global lead for IBM X-Force Incident Response and Intelligence Services.

“With organisations facing the loss or theft of over 11.7 billion records in the past three years alone, companies need to be aware of the full financial impact that a data breach can have on their bottom line –and focus on how they can reduce these costs,” she said.

The report found that malicious breaches are the most common and most expensive, with 51% of data breaches in the study in the UK and globally resulting from malicious cyber attacks (up from 42% globally in the past six years) and costing companies £805,000 ($1m) more on average than those originating from accidental causes.

However, the report said inadvertent breaches from human error and system glitches were still the cause for nearly half (49%) of the data breaches in the report, costing companies £2.8m ($3.5m) and £2.6m ($3.24m) respectively.

These breaches from human and machine error represent an opportunity for improvement, the report said, which can be addressed through security awareness training for staff, technology investments, and testing services to identify accidental breaches early on.

One particular area of concern is the misconfiguration of cloud servers, which contributed to the exposure of 990 million records in 2018, representing 43% of all lost records for the year, according to the IBM X-Force Threat Intelligence Index.

“Mega breaches” the report said, typically lead to “mega losses”. While less common, breaches of more than one million records cost companies a projected £33.8m ($42m) in losses, and those of 50 million records are projected to cost companies £312m ($388m).

For the 9th year in a row, the study found that healthcare organisations had the highest cost of a breach of nearly £5.2m ($6.5m) on average, which is more than 60% greater than other industries in the study.

The report notes that the past 14 have shown that the speed and efficiency with which a company responds to a breach has a significant impact on the overall cost.

This year’s report found that the average lifecycle of a breach was 279 days, with companies taking 206 days to first identify a breach after it occurs, and an additional 73 days to contain the breach.

Incident response
The study shows that companies with an incident response team that also extensively tested their incident response plan experienced £990,000 ($1.23m) less in data breach costs on average than those that had neither measure in place. While companies that were able to detect and contain a breach in less than 200 days spent £965,000 ($1.2m) less on the total cost of a breach.

This appears to be an area that needs some attention in the UK, where the mean time to identify the data breach increased from 163 to 171 days from 2018 and the mean time to contain the data breach increased from 64 to 72 days.

Globally, the study found that companies that had fully deployed security automation technologies experienced around half the cost of a breach (£2.1m on average) compared with those that did not have these technologies deployed (£4.15m on average).

Extensive use of encryption was also a top cost saving factor, reducing the total cost of a breach by £289,000, the study shows.

Breaches originating from a third party – such as a partner or supplier – cost companies £297,000 more than average, the report said, emphasising the need for companies to closely vet the security of the companies they do business with, align security standards, and actively monitor third-party access.

The Shoprite Group is fighting crime by investing heavily in sophisticated security and other measures to make its shopping space secure, reduce the number of criminal incidents and increase the number of arrests.

This is in the wake of the retail industry experiencing significant crime incidents in which the Shoprite Group had to contend with 489 armed robberies and burglaries in its 2018 financial year.

Its investments in crime prevention, including a centralised Command Centre and anti-crime team, gives the Group the ability to monitor stores and vehicles, remotely trigger security devices, follow up on crime incidents and ensure suspects are arrested.

Through an extensive intelligence network, the Command Centre receives live information on strikes, protests and other incidents. This information can be used to react and take necessary measures to safeguard the Group’s fleet on the road as well as staff and customers in its stores.

Shoprite’s efforts to keep its customers and staff safe are reflected in a reduction of contact (violent) crime incidents and increased prosecutions. “It is a work in progress,” says Group Loss Prevention Manager, Oswald Meiring. “Incidents of violent crime and robberies are coming down, and we will continue to do everything we can to make us a harder target.”

Arrests have increased by 200% as a result of the Group increasing its capability to identify, trace and arrest suspects. Recently the Group was also able to assist with the arrest of two suspects after the manager of its Worcester branch was shot and killed in a robbery. A third suspect has been identified and arrest is imminent.

“We continue to focus on creating a safer environment for customers and staff. That is our first priority and we will go to any length to prosecute whoever is committing these crimes.”

The Group works closely with the South African Police Service (SAPS) and the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) to affect the necessary arrests. It shares intelligence with them to ensure that bail is successfully opposed and that prosecution of criminals is successful.

In addition to tracking devices, the Group installed cameras and electronic locks on trucks which are managed from the Command Centre. Trucks can be remotely opened and closed, with alarms triggered if trucks are stationery for a certain length of time, or if unusual driving behaviour is detected. Since these devices were installed, there have been no incidents in transit on these vehicles.

It has also employed an in-house investigation team made up of experienced investigators. It has a team of Data and Crime Analysts who utilise predictive and historical analysis of all the crime data, to identify which stores or areas should be focused on. The Group has also employed an expert criminal lawyer to assist with the successful prosecution of criminals.

By Jenni Evans for News24

Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba is seeking an urgent meeting with the Eskom board over the power utility’s declaration that it will no longer do repairs in places illegally connected to the power grid.

This follows a meeting between Mashaba and Eskom officials on Monday to deal with complaints by Soweto residents about illegal electricity connections, vandalised infrastructure and extended blackouts.

“Due to the complex nature of the issues discussed between myself and the Eskom team, during a meeting at Megawatt Park, it was decided that it would be prudent to include the Eskom board in our deliberations,” said Mashaba in a statement.

“I have therefore requested an urgent meeting with the board of Eskom and its shareholder within the next 24 hours. The team at Eskom has indeed committed to ensuring this does take place.”

Mashaba felt it was important for the city and Eskom to work together to find solutions to issues faced by Sowetans and other residents affected by ongoing blackouts arising from Eksom’s credit management processes.

Last week Eskom threatened that it will not repair infrastructure in areas where there are illegal connections or the safety of staff cannot be guaranteed.

“Eskom will only restore supply to legal and paying customers in the areas, on condition that the community allows safe access to Eskom staff to conduct audits and remove illegal connections,” the statement said.

It was previously reported that Soweto has been ranked as one of the top defaulters in the country, where residents owe Eskom more than R17bn.

Mashaba said last week after Eskom’s warning that he felt compelled to intervene on behalf of residents who will be affected by the actions of a few.

By James Pero for DailyMail.com

Malware that replaces victims’ legitimate apps with a malicious doppelgänger has infected 25-million devices across India, the UK and the US, say security researchers.

The virus, named ‘Agent Smith’ after a fictional character from the, ‘The Matrix’ who is able to make others into copies of himself, was highlighted by the security firm Check Point on Wednesday and affects users on Android devices.

Instead of stealing data, the malware covertly replaces apps inside a user’s phone with hacked versions which display ads selected by the hackers, allowing them to profit off their views.

To avoid detection, the malware — under its disguise as popular apps like WhatsApp or Flipkart — is also capable of replacing code in the original program with its own malicious version that prevents an app from being updated.

At least 15-million of the devices infected are located in India and 300,000 have been detected in the U.S. Other infections are spread across Asia as well as the U.K., and Australia.

‘The malware attacks user-installed applications silently, making it challenging for common Android users to combat such threats on their own,’ said Jonathan Shimonovich, head of Mobile Threat Detection Research at Check Point.

‘Combining advanced threat prevention and threat intelligence while adopting a ‘hygiene first’ approach to safeguard digital assets is the best protection against invasive mobile malware attacks like ‘Agent Smith”

A malware called ‘Agent Smith’ was found to have infected 25 million device mostly in India.

Malicious code was able to disguise itself as legitimate apps and take over the ads served inside those programs.

Hackers didn’t steal users data but were able to make money off serving up phoney ads.

Many users were unaware that they had been infected.

Code spread via third party app-store 9Apps and unsuccessfully tried to infect users in the Google Play store.

The malware is named after a fictional villain in the 1999 movie ‘The Matrix’ who was able to turn victims into copies of himself.

Researchers say Agent Smith was able to spread to devices through a third-party app store called 9Apps.

Malicious code was embedded into photo apps and sex-related apps which were then downloaded by users.

Once inside a victim’s device, the malware would disguise itself as a legitimate app and then begin replacing code.

As reported by The Verge, creators of the malware also attempted to infect users in the Google Play store through 11 apps containing bits of malicious code.

The foray was reportedly unsuccessful and Google has removed all the apps from its store.

A vulnerability in Android that allowed hackers to include their code was patched several years ago, but developers failed to patch their apps, leaving many open to attack.

To avoid being compromised by malware like Agent Smith, Check Point has some simple words of advice.

‘Users should only be downloading apps from trusted app stores to mitigate the risk of infection as third party app stores often lack the security measures required to block adware loaded apps,’ wrote researchers.

Watch out for these common banking crimes

SABRIC, the South African Banking Risk Information Centre, on behalf of the banking industry has released its annual crime stats for 2018.

“We are concerned about some of the increases, which clearly reflect that criminals will take every opportunity to get their hands on bank customers’ money,” says SABRIC CEO, Kalyani Pillay.

Combined gross card fraud losses on South African issued cards saw an 18% increase from 2017 to 2018, totalling R873 394 351, with credit card fraud increasing by 18.4% and debit card fraud increasing by 17.5%.

Card Not Present (CNP) fraud on South African issued credit cards remained the leading contributor to gross fraud losses in the country, accounting for 79.5% of all losses. CNP debit card fraud showed the greatest increase in losses at 62.3%, due to the enablement of Card Not Present transactions on debit cards.

“We have seen a sharp increase in Vishing incidents, where criminals phone bank customers, lead them to believe that they are speaking to the bank or a legitimate service provider and use social engineering tactics to manipulate them into disclosing their confidential bank card details, as well as other personal information. “A bank will never call you to ask for this information. If you receive such a call, put the phone down immediately,” says Pillay.

In 2018, Lost and/or Stolen debit card fraud amounted to 42.5% of all debit card fraud and bank customers continue to fall victim to fraud at ATM’s while transacting. Criminals approach victims under the pretext of being helpful, and in many instances even pose as a bank official. They then steal the victim’s banks card and shoulder surf to obtain the PIN. SABRIC therefore urges bank clients to never accept assistance from anyone at an ATM, no matter how friendly or helpful they may appear.

In 2018, 23 466 incidents across banking apps, online banking and mobile banking amounted to R262 826 888 in gross losses. It is concerning that incidents across these platforms increased by 75,3%. Mobile banking incidents showed an increase of 100%, with gross losses of R28 941 040, while online banking incidents showed an increase of 37.5% with gross losses of R129 002 523. Banking app incidents increased by 55.4%, with gross losses of R104 883 325 for the same period. SIM swops in the Mobile Banking space saw an increase of over 200% to 11077 incidents.

Criminals are very adept at understanding psychology and will use social engineering tactics to exploit any human vulnerability to harvest confidential information like a PIN or a password in order to steal cash. When it comes to online banking, beware of Phishing emails that request that you click on a link. The link directs you to a “spoofed” website designed to obtain, verify or update contact details or other sensitive financial information. “Never click on links in unsolicited emails!” says Pillay.

We are pleased that Cash in transit (CIT) robberies decreased by 22% from 376 to 292 incidents from 2017 to 2018. Cash losses here also showed a decrease of 22% for the same period. SABRIC will continue to work closely with law enforcement and other partners to address the scourge and ensure further declines.

“To have any significant impact on the fight against all of these crimes, the collective efforts of banks, bank customers and law enforcement are imperative,” says Pillay.

SABRIC urges you to be your money’s best protection by following these tips:

Tips when using ATMs

· If you think the ATM is faulty cancel the transaction IMMEDIATELY, report the fault to your Bank and transact at another ATM.

· Avoid ATMs that are dimly lit or surrounded by loiterers, and never allow your children to draw money using your card, since they’re the most vulnerable to perpetrators.

· Have your card ready in your hand before you approach the ATM to avoid opening your purse, bag or wallet while in the queue.

· Be cautious of strangers offering to help as they could be trying to distract you to get your card or PIN.

· Follow the instructions on the ATM screen carefully.

· ONLY punch in your PIN once prompted by the ATM.

· Report suspicious items or people around ATMs to the Bank.

· Choose familiar and well-lit ATMs where you are visible and safe.

· Report any concerns regarding the ATM to the Bank. Toll free numbers are displayed on all ATMs.

· Be alert to your surroundings. Do not use the ATM if there are loiterers or suspicious people in the vicinity. Also take note that fraudsters are often well dressed, well-spoken and respectable looking individuals.

· If you are disturbed or interfered with, whilst transacting at the ATM, your card may be skimmed, by being removed and replaced back into the ATM without your knowledge. Cancel the transaction immediately and report the incident using your Bank’s Stop Card Toll free number which is displayed on all ATMs, as well as on the back of your Bank card.

· Should you have been disturbed whilst transacting, immediately change your PIN or stop the card, to protect yourself from any illegal transactions occurring on your account.

· Know what your ATM looks like so that you can identify any foreign objects attached to it.

· Do not ask anyone to assist you at the ATM, not even the security guarding the ATM or a Bank official. Rather go inside the Bank for help.

· Never force your card into the slot as it might have been tampered with.

· Do not insert your card if the screen layout is not familiar to you and looks like the machine has been tampered with.

· Don’t use ATMs where the card slot, keypad or screen has been tampered with. It could be an attempt to get hold of your card.

· Your PIN is your personal key to secure banking and it is crucial to keep it confidential.

· Memorise your PIN, never write it down or share it with anyone, not even with your family member or a Bank official.

· Choose a PIN that will not be easily guessed. Do not use your date of birth as a PIN.

· Cover your PIN when punching the numbers even when alone at the ATM as some criminals may place secret cameras to observe your PIN.

· Don’t let anyone stand too close to you to keep both your card and PIN safe.

· Some fraudsters wait until you’ve drawn your cash to take advantage. Be wary of people loitering around the ATM and ensure that you are not followed.

· Take your time to complete your transaction and secure your card and your cash in your wallet, handbag or pocket before leaving the ATM.

· Set a daily withdrawal limit that suits your needs (the default amount is set at R1000.00), to protect yourself in an event that your card and PIN are compromised.

· Check your balance regularly and report discrepancies to your Bank IMMEDIATELY.

· Avoid withdrawing cash to pay for goods/services as your Debit Card can be used for these transactions. You can use your Debit Card wherever the Maestro/Visa Electron logo is displayed.

After you have completed your transaction successfully, leave the ATM area immediately. Be cautious of strangers requesting you to return to the ATM to finalise/close the transaction because they are unable to transact. Skimming may occur during this request.
Prioritise the setting of daily withdrawal and transaction limits.
Set a daily ATM withdrawal limit that suits your needs.
Transaction limits should also be in line with daily spending.
Set limits on international transaction expenditure.
Inter account transfer limits should also be managed wisely.

Tips to prevent phishing and vishing

Phishing:

· Do not click on links or icons in unsolicited e-mails.

· Do not reply to these e-mails. Delete them immediately.

· Do not believe the content of unsolicited e-mails blindly. If you are worried about what is alleged, use your own contact details to contact the sender to confirm.

· Type in the URL (uniform resource locator or domain names) for your bank in the internet browser if you need to access your bank’s webpage.

· Check that you are on the real site before using any personal information.

· If you think that you might have been compromised, contact your bank immediately.

· Create complicated passwords that are not easy to decipher and change them often.

Vishing:

· Banks will never ask you to confirm your confidential information over the phone.

· If you receive a phone call requesting confidential or personal information, do not respond and end the call.

· If you receive an OTP on your phone without having transacted yourself, it was likely prompted by a fraudster using your personal information. Do not provide the OTP telephonically to anybody. Contact your bank immediately to alert them to the possibility that your information may have been compromised.

· If you lose mobile connectivity under circumstances where you are usually connected, check whether you may have been the victim of a SIM swop.

Tips for carrying cash safely

Tips for Individuals

· Carry as little cash as possible.

· Consider the convenience of paying your accounts electronically (consult your bank to find out about other available options).

· Consider making use of cell phone banking or internet transfers or ATMs to do your banking.

· Never make your bank visits public, even to people close to you.

Tips for Businesses

· Vary the days and times on which you deposit cash.

· Never make your bank visits public, even to people close to you.

· Do not openly display the money you are depositing while you are standing in the bank queue.

· Avoid carrying moneybags, briefcases or openly displaying your deposit receipt book.

· It is advisable to identify another branch nearby you that you can visit to ensure that your banking pattern is not easily recognisable or detected.

· If the amount of cash you are regularly depositing is increasing as your business grows, consider using the services of a cash management company.

· Refrain from giving wages to your contract or casual labourers in full view of the public; rather make use of wage accounts that can be provided by your bank.

· Consider arranging for electronic transfers of wages to contract or casual labourers’ personal bank accounts.

Tips for Stokvel Groupings

· Refrain from making cash deposits of club members’ contributions on high-risk days (e.g. Monday after month end).

· Ensure persons depositing club cash contributions or making withdrawals are accompanied by another club member.

· A stokvel savings club or burial society can arrange for members to deposit cash directly into the club’s account instead of collecting cash contributions.

· Arrange for the club’s pay out to be electronically transferred into each club member’s personal account or accounts of their choice.

· Take another person with when going to deposit club cash contributions

Tips for protecting your personal information

· Don’t use the same username and password for access to banking and social media platforms.

· Avoid sharing or having joint social media accounts.

· Be cautious about what you share on social media.

· Activate your security settings which restrict access to your personal information.

· Don’t carry unnecessary personal information in your wallet or purse.

· Don’t disclose personal information such as passwords and PINs when asked to do so by anyone via telephone, fax or even email.

· Don’t write down PINs and passwords and avoid obvious choices like birth dates and first names.

· Don’t use any Personal Identifiable Information (PII) as a password, user ID or personal identification number (PIN).

· Don’t use Internet Cafes or unsecure terminals (hotels, conference centers etc.) to do your banking.

· Use strong passwords for all your accounts.

· Change your password regularly and never share them with anyone else.

· Store personal and financial documentation safely. Always lock it away.

· Keep PIN numbers and passwords confidential.

· Verify all requests for personal information and only provide it when there is a legitimate reason to do so.

· To prevent your ID being used to commit fraud if it is ever lost or stolen, alert the SA Fraud Prevention Service immediately on 0860 101 248 or at www.safps.org.za.

· Ensure that you have a robust firewall and install antivirus software to prevent a computer virus sending out personal information from your computer.

· When destroying personal information, either shred or burn it (do not tear or put it in a garbage or recycling bag).

· Should your ID or driver’s license be stolen report it to SAPS immediately.

Tips for protecting yourself against SIM Swops

· If reception on your cell phone is lost, immediately check what the problem could be, as you could have been a victim of an illegal SIM swop on your number. If confirmed, notify your bank immediately.

· Inform your Bank should your cell phone number changes so that your cell phone notification contact number is updated on its systems.

· Register for your Bank’s cell phone notification service and receive electronic messages relating to activities or transactions on your accounts as and when they occur.

· Regularly verify whether the details received from cell phone notifications are correct and according to the recent activity on your account. Should any detail appear suspicious immediately contact your Bank and report all log-on notification that are unknown to you.

· Memorise your PIN and passwords, never write them down or share them, not even with a bank official.

· Make sure your PIN and passwords cannot be seen when you enter them.

· If you think your PIN and/or password has been compromised, change it immediately either online or at your nearest branch.

· Choose an unusual PIN and password that are hard to guess and change them often.

MyBroadband has released an explosive report detailing how billions of rands worth of airtime has been stolen from mobile subscribers in South Africa, by rogue wireless application service providers (WASPs) who bill cellular subscribers’ accounts without their permission.

MyBroadband received this information from two industry insiders, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

According to the report, subscribers are defenceless as “there is no way to proactively block WASP billing on their accounts”.

How it works

  • WASPs are able to bill mobile cellular users’ accounts, taking airtime for content subscription services
  • Rogue WASPs exploit the system to bill people’s accounts without their permission or knowledge
  • Users’ only defence is to regularly check their account and ask for a refund if their airtime was stolen
  • Unless the fraud is detected and a complaint is lodged, the money is gone forever
  • Both the rogue WASP and the mobile operator profit

According to MyBroadband, this has been happening for over a decade, and mobile operators are well aware of this problem.

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