Tag: theft

Source: MyBroadband

New evidence has revealed widespread airtime theft and fraudulent WASP subscriptions on Vodacom’s network, showing that the company failed to act decisively against the criminals.

The latest evidence follows an industry investigation which revealed airtime theft on a mass scale from Vodacom’s prepaid customers.

What sets the latest evidence apart is that it comes from a prominent company which uses machine-to-machine communications and IoT devices with prepaid SIMs from Vodacom.

It is therefore impossible for these SIMs to pro-actively subscribe to WASP services, which means this data provides conclusive evidence of fraudulent subscriptions and airtime theft.

The company’s chief executive, who asked to remain anonymous because of his relationship with Vodacom, told MyBroadband hundreds of their SIMs have been hit by airtime theft.

The company experienced theft on both brand-new SIMs and SIMs which have been in devices for years.

He said Vodacom refuses to acknowledge any problem and added that it is very difficult to get refunds for the stolen airtime.

Only around 5% to 10% of the airtime theft which they logged with Vodacom were refunded.

He said it requires considerable effort to get a refund, which is further complicated as it is impossible to approach Vodacom with a list of SIMs from which airtime was stolen.

“You need to phone in as a single prepaid customer and go through the motions of trying to convince them that the SIM is in a device with no human access,” he said.

“You have to hound them repeatedly to get the refund to be processed, and you often just give up after a while.”

The evidence further showed that the same WASPs continue to steal airtime from SIMs long after it was reported to Vodacom.

The data provided to MyBroadband stretches back for many months and conclusively proves:

  • There is widespread fraud and airtime theft on Vodacom’s network to this day.
  • Vodacom was made aware of this fraud and airtime theft, for a long time, but failed to act decisively.
  • The same companies continue to steal airtime from Vodacom’s subscribers.

Keep your money safe with these tips

Be your money’s best protection by following these SABRIC tips:

Tips to prevent card not present (CNP) fraud

  • Personal information includes identity documents, driver’s licenses, passports, addresses and contact details amongst others. Always protect your personal information by sharing it very selectively and on a need to know basis only
  • Never share your confidential information which includes usernames, passwords and PIN numbers with anyone
  • Review your account statements on a timely basis; query disputed transactions with your bank immediately
  • When shopping online, only place orders with your card on a secure website
  • Register for 3D Secure
  • Implement dual authentication for all accounts and products, especially for financial services products
  • Do not send e-mails that quote your card number and expiry date
  • Do not use your information if you suspect it may have been compromised. Rather use other personal information that you have not used previously in order to confirm your identity in future
  • Register for SMS notifications to alert you when products and accounts are accessed
  • Conduct regular credit checks to verify whether someone has applied for credit using your personal information and if so, advise the credit grantor immediately
  • Investigate and register for credit related alerts offered by credit bureaus

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 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 centres 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

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 labourer’s personal bank accounts

By Natasha Odendaal for Creamer Media’s Engineering News 

Telecommunications giant Vodacom has started engaging communities to intensify security around its base stations to guard against vandalism and battery theft.

Community members will be recruited, trained and accredited – working with police – serving as “monitoring personnel” under a new model to secure its sites.

“Incidents of base station vandalism have significantly gotten worse over the last few years,” said Vodacom Group CEO Shameel Joosub, noting that the crime is being perpetuated by organised syndicates that always find new ways to commit this type of crime.

“Our security teams on the ground have observed that quite often syndicates target base stations in far-flung and secluded areas because they know it will take police a long time to react. Hence, our sites in remote areas are repeatedly hit,” said Vodacom Group chief risk officer Johan Van Graan.

Theft and vandalism, and its subsequent damage, is costing network providers hundreds of millions of rands worth of damage every year.

Vodacom reported a 35% increase year-on-year in the number of battery thefts at its base stations, with an average of 600 incidents a month of sites impacted by theft or damage.

“We are losing between R120-million and R130-million to vandalism and theft each year. Nonetheless, we are not sitting on our laurels and are fighting back by coming up with innovative measures to stem the tide of battery theft,” Joosub assured.

Vodacom is testing a new model to secure its sites by forging partnerships with members of the community.

“As part of this new model, we recruit local people to serve as monitoring personnel to be our eyes and ears on the ground and provide us critical information police can use to effect arrests,” Van Graan said.

Locals will be trained and accredited, and linked with the local policing community forum and local South African Police Services to provide support when arrests must happen.

“In all the provinces where this model is currently being tested, it has yielded positive results,” he said, citing a substantial reduction in break-ins at at-risk sites owing to the enlistment of local people to secure its sites.

“This demonstrates that the number-one line of defence against site vandalism is the local community and vigilant community members who report incidents of battery theft or site vandalism to police,” he added.

Each theft incident can result in the network in that area being down for days, and can severely impact businesses, as well as anyone relying on the Internet to study and remain in contact with friends and family.

Vodacom plans to spend R1-billion in the current financial year to ensure its network is able to cope with widespread electricity blackouts, which will include intensified security around the telco’s base station sites and the installation of additional batteries and generators to ensure connectivity during load-shedding.

By James de Villiers for Business Insider SA

The North Korean connection in a brazen R300-million heist in Japan, which used stolen data from Standard Bank, has been confirmed in a new report.
The mastermind of the 2016 operation – which involved more than 100 people – fled to North Korea afterwards.
The group is believed to have used counterfeit credit cards stolen or leaked from Standard Bank to steal the money.

It has now been confirmed that the alleged mastermind behind a syndicate which stole 1.8 billion yen, or roughly R302 million at current exchange rates, in Japan by using data stolen from Standard Bank, fled to North Korea, the Japanese newswire Kyodo News reported this weekend.

In 2016, the man lead a group of people who used counterfeit credit cards stolen or leaked from Standard Bank to withdraw large amounts from convenience-store ATMs in 17 areas across the country, including Tokyo.

The Atlantic reported that more than 100 people were believed to have been involved in the operation which took place over two hours on 15 May 2016.

Around 1 700 automated teller machines at 1 600 convenience stores were targeted.

The mastermind fled to North Korea by way of China shortly after, investigators have now determined.

Last year, Nippon.com reported that United Nations Security Council panel found that North Korea may have been involved in the incident.

Standard Bank told Business Insider South Africa that they are unable to comment as investigations are ongoing, and directed enquiries to the relevant authorities.

Japanese police have been working with South African police during its investigations. It said over 260 people have been arrested in relation to the incident, the Japan Times reported.

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.

Was the eNATIS system stolen?

By Tebogo Monama for IOL 

A David versus Goliath battle looms after an emerging Pretoria company accused the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) of stealing their idea for the online booking system.

From last year, motorists in Gauteng have been able to make pre-bookings online for the renewal of their driving and learner’s licences.

When the system was first launched, the national Department of Transport said introducing the online booking system on eNaTIS would improve service delivery and minimise corruption by officials.

But the system, which was met with excitement by motorists, left a bitter taste in the mouths of Techub, a Pretoria-based company.

The company claims it came up with the system and had sent its proposals for two years to the RTMC for possible approval. It also claims the RTMC implemented its system without giving it any credit.

One of the owners of the company, Herman Mawela, has claimed it developed the online application system in 2016.

“We first took it to the Tshwane metro police department and they said we should take it to the RTMC.”

Mawela added that the company sent emails of the plan to several employees of the RTMC but never received a response. To his dismay, last year he saw an announcement based on what he claimed was his system.

“After we sent our presentation in 2016, the officials stopped being available. Every time we called, the officials were either not available or in meetings,” Mawela said.

He said the system that was introduced last year was tweaked a bit from what they had proposed.

“Our system had some extras like paying for your traffic fines online.”

The RTMC has vehemently denied that it stole Mawela’s idea.

Spokesperson Simon Zwane said: “We would not do that to an entrepreneur. We are a government that believes in empowering people and not taking advantage of them.”

Zwane said the RTMC started working on the concept in 2007.

“We introduced the telephone booking in Gauteng on the eNaTIS system. We then refreshed the idea in 2011. The IT department reworked the functionality in 2017 in preparation for the launch.”

Zwane added that the employees to whom Mawela sent his idea did not work directly on the project. “The employees are not in the IT environment and would not know what plans were there. We are prepared to invite him to come to our office and see all the preparatory work for himself,” Zwane said.

The Star

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More than R1-billion was lost to the South African agricultural economy in 2018 thanks to livestock theft. According to a study released by UNISA, there were more than 29, 000 cases reported over the last financial year, with thousands of animals stolen. These thefts weigh heavily on the pockets of farmers and put them under immense pressure to find sustainable solutions that don’t bypass the law but do protect their property and their livelihoods. Into this complex quagmire of loss, livelihood and legal ramification steps agri-tech, the trending term for technology designed specifically for the agricultural sector and its unique challenges. Agri-tech has the potential to mitigate the loss of livestock, to reduce financial pressure on the agricultural industry and to minimise the burdens of distance and real-time responses to livestock threats.

FarmRanger, a clever blend of technology and agricultural devices, delivers an elegantly layered platform for livestock management and security. FarmRanger uses a combination of animal collar and app. The collars are fitted to a select number of animals in the herd – for sheep it is approximately one animal per 300 – and constantly monitor the movement of the sheep and, by extension, the herd. When any abnormal movement is detected, the system alerts the relevant person, for example the foreman, the farmer or the neighbourhood watch, by sending them a ‘missed call’ from the collar as well as an app notification. They then use the app to track the animal in real-time, following the detailed information on the app to find the animal’s location and effectively prevent it from being killed or stolen.

“The rising trend of stock theft makes it essential for farmers to use technology so they can stay one step ahead,” says Marius van der Merwe, Product Manager of FarmRanger. “However, the solutions need to be simple and reliable, providing farmers with valuable insight when it is needed the most. FarmRanger is designed to be functional and effective, delivering the right information to farmers so they can mitigate the impact of stock theft on their businesses.”

In addition to providing the farmer with relevant alarms and information, the app shows daily location updates, historical animal positions, and collar data, such as battery level. Working alongside the collar, the app is a simple and effective solution designed to fit into the farmer’s life, not make it more complicated. FarmRanger uses high-end technology – smartphones, GPS, electronic collars, real-time data and application delivery – to provide farmers with a hands-on and reliable tool that anyone can pick up and use without a hefty learning curve. Farmers generally embrace technology when it adds value to their operation; ultimately, they want to focus on the business of farming, so the supporting technology needs to be effective and easy to integrate.

Agri-tech solutions offer farmers an extra layer of insurance; however, they also need to add value. This is what FarmRanger does. The platform minimises the impact of stock theft while also providing customer service, a track record that spans more than 20 years, and technology that works within existing infrastructure limitations. The collars work on the mobile phone network and don’t require that the farms then install radio networks and battery life is up to six months on a rechargeable battery.

The solution comes from the ETSE Electronics stable which forms part of the Alphawave group. It has successfully introduced more than 4500 active units to 2000 farms across South Africa and Namibia and is tailored to suit the needs of the medium and large farming enterprises. It gives them the security and peace of mind they need to lock in their livestock, ensure their livelihoods and track their herds. Implementation of the solution is growing steadily, cementing FarmRanger’s reputation and reliability.

“It is a trusted 24/7 shepherd that now forms an integral part of the agri-sector repertoire and, as such, is continuously undergoing innovation and development to ensure it remains relevant and on the edge of what agri-tech can offer,” concludes Marnus van Wyk, Director of the Alphawave Group responsible for growing the agri-tech product portfolio.

For further information visit www.alphawave.co.za

Ends

ADAM HUNTER

HEAD HONCHO

+27 71 178 7035

+27 21 974 6283

hello@hooklinesinker.biz

www.hooklinesinker.biz

By Raymond Brown for Cambridge News

A secretary sold £48 000 of office supplies bought on a company credit card on eBay and told police she “got a buzz from treating her family and friends to nice things they could not afford”.

Jessica Prince, 35, of North Brink, Wisbech, was suspected of fraud after her employer’s accountant received an invoice from an unregistered supplier.

Prince had been selling ink cartridges and other office supplies purchased on her company credit card for a profit using her personal eBay account.

She has been jailed for 20 months.

How Prince’s scheme worked
Her scheme was discovered after it was found that the company had spent more than £48,000 on ink cartridges and other office equipment in the space of seven months, with invoices being doctored to conceal what was actually being ordered.

Prince had been employed as the company director’s personal secretary and was responsible for the smooth running and administration of the company office, including ordering stationery, office furniture, booking taxis, flights and hotels.

An internal investigation revealed Prince had been abusing her position to make large purchases but hiding it from the company director and accountant.

Prince was arrested on July 26 last year and in interview admitted having used her company’s credit card to purchase items and then sell them on for profit.

Officers were told it started off as a mistake after she accidentally purchased the wrong printer toner and was told it was non-refundable. She claimed she was told to sell it through eBay and give the money back to her company. She used her own personal eBay account to sell the toner but kept the money.

This was the first of many instances, placing bigger orders worth thousands of pounds on the company credit card, selling them on for a profit using her personal eBay account.

Prince told officers she “got a buzz from treating her family and friends to nice things they could not afford” but “felt like scum at work because she knew she was committing fraud”.

By Jade Scipioni for FOX Business

Accidentally slip some of those new office pens into your bag to save a couple bucks? Discretely tuck some of your employer’s new manila folders into your briefcase?

If so, join the club of office thieves whose numbers have been on the rise over the last 15 years.

According to data from the Association of Certified Fraud Examiner, office stealing of non-cash items – ranging from scissors and notebooks, to staplers and paperclips – has ballooned to 21% of corporate-theft losses in 2018 from 10.6% in 2002.

The Atlantic, which was first to report the trend, added that most workers aren’t even coy about it, with more than 52% of workers admitting they steal company property in a survey from 2013.

Hot items include scissors, notebooks, staplers and tape, especially during the gift-wrapping holidays.

The uptick has even forced managers to routinely stock up on 20% more supplies in order to account for lost items right off the bat.

Mark Doyle, the president of the loss-prevention consultancy Jack L. Hayes International, told The Atlantic that there are a few factors to blame for office ransacking.

He points to the decrease in supervision and the uptick in employees working from home for the increase.

By Abrar Al-Heeti for C-NET

The US Department of Justice on Monday charged Huawei with theft of trade secrets, wire fraud and obstruction of justice.

A 10-count indictment alleges that China’s Huawei stole trade secrets from US carrier T-Mobile beginning in 2012. Huawei also allegedly offered bonuses to employees who stole confidential information from companies. In addition, a 13-count indictment charged four defendants, including Huawei and Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou, with financial fraud. The indicted defendants also include affiliates Huawei USA and Skycom.

“The charges unsealed today clearly allege that Huawei intentionally conspired to steal the intellectual property of an American company in an attempt to undermine the free and fair global marketplace,” said FBI Director Christopher Wray in a statement. “To the detriment of American ingenuity, Huawei continually disregarded the laws of the United States in the hopes of gaining an unfair economic advantage.”

The charges come amid heightened scrutiny for Huawei, the world’s largest supplier of telecom equipment and the No. 2 smartphone maker behind Samsung. The US has already banned Huawei from selling networking equipment here, but a number of other countries have either already ceased working with the company, or are considering a ban. The Chinese government and Huawei have said the moves could have ramifications since the company contributes to industry-standard wireless technologies like 5G.

Both the US and China are jockeying for leadership in the next-generation of cellular technology, which promises higher speeds and the ability to handle more connected devices. US officials have offered warnings about Huawei and its ties to China.

“There is ample evidence to suggest that no major Chinese company is independent of the Chinese government and Communist Party — and Huawei, which China’s government and military tout as a ‘national champion,’ is no exception,” said Sen. Mark Warner, a Virginia Democrat who’s vice chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.

Huawei, meanwhile, denied any wrongdoing.

“Huawei is disappointed to learn of the charges brought against the company today,” the company said in an emailed statement.

“After Meng’s arrest, the company sought an opportunity to discuss the Eastern District of New York investigation with the Justice Department, but the request was rejected without explanation,” Huawei continued. “The allegations in the Western District of Washington trade secret indictment were already the subject of a civil suit that was settled by the parties after a Seattle jury found neither damages nor willful and malicious conduct on the trade secret claim.”

T-Mobile declined to comment.

Two charges
According the first set of indictments, Huawei began stealing information about a phone-testing robot from T-Mobile called Tappy. Huawei engineers allegedly violated confidentiality and nondisclosure agreements by taking pictures of Tappy, taking measurements of parts of the robot and stealing a piece of it. When T-Mobile found out and threatened to sue, Huawei falsely said the theft was done by rogue actors within the company, according to the indictment.

T-Mobile sued anyway, and in 2017 won its case against Huawei, with a jury awarding it $4.8 million.

Despite Huawei’s insistence that the action was a one-off affair, the Justice Department says emails obtained during the investigation found that the theft of secrets from T-Mobile was a companywide effort.

It has been clear for some time that Huawei poses a threat to our national security.
Sen. Mark Warner
Huawei could face a fine of up to either $5 million or three times the value of the stolen trade secret, for conspiracy and attempt to steal trade secrets. The company could also face a fine of up to $500,000 for wire fraud and obstruction of justice.

In the second set of indictments, Meng was charged with bank fraud, wire fraud and conspiracies to commit bank and wire fraud. Huawei and Huawei USA are charged with conspiracy to obstruct justice. Huawei and Skycom are charged with bank fraud and conspiracy to commit bank fraud, wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud, violating the International Emergency Economic Powers Act and conspiracy to violate IEEPA, and conspiracy to commit money laundering.

The charges are related to the company’s alleged efforts to evade US sanctions and do business with Iran. Last month, Meng was detained in Canada at the behest of the Justice Department over those claims. While in a Vancouver courthouse to discuss her bail, a lawyer with Canada’s Justice Department alleged she defrauded US banks into making transactions that violated those sanctions, according to Bloomberg.

The founder’s daughter
Notably, Meng isn’t just the CFO of Huawei. She’s the daughter of the founder and president, Zhengfei Ren. And her arrest doesn’t just have ripple effects across the tech industry; it threatens to blow up an already precarious relationship between the US and China over trade talks.

Beyond trade, others see Huawei as a national security issue.

“It has been clear for some time that Huawei poses a threat to our national security, and I applaud the Trump Administration for taking steps to finally hold the company accountable,” Warner said.

Huawei has consistently denied any wrongdoing by Meng. At the World Economic Forum at Davos, Huawei Chairman Liang Hua called for a quick resolution of the case and the release of Meng, according to Reuters.

Meng’s lawyer, Reid Weingarten, told Reuters on Tuesday that she was a victim of “complex” China-US relations.

“Our client, Sabrina Meng, should not be a pawn or a hostage in this relationship.” he said, using one of her Western names. “Ms. Meng is an ethical and honorable businesswoman who has never spent a second of her life plotting to violate any US law, including the Iranian sanctions.”

Huawei also told Reuters that it had sought to discuss the charges with US authorities, “but the request was rejected without explanation.”

Over the past few months, Huawei has endured a wave of negative sentiment. UK carrier BT said it’d pull Huawei equipment out of its 4G network and ban it from any future 5G deployments. Japan reportedly banned government purchases from Huawei. Also last month, Andrus Ansip, the EU’s technology chief, warned that Huawei and other Chinese companies pose a risk to the bloc’s industry and security, according to Reuters.

All of the negativity could have a trickle-down effect on the company.

“[The case] puts every aspect of Huawei’s business in jeopardy in the US and EU, including consumer sales,” said Maribel Lopez, an analyst at Lopez Research. “Instead of being known for innovation, the company is positioned as criminal.”

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