SA’s new Cybercrimes act | Cyber Threat

24 May

Navigate the cyber threat landscape with SA’s new Cybercrimes Act

A rising wave of cybercrimes has prompted the government to pass sweeping new legislation that’s designed to protect individuals and businesses from the illegal acts of cybercriminals.

SA’s Cybercrimes Act, which was recently passed by parliament, gives law enforcement authorities greater powers to investigate online crimes and punish those responsible for them.

Let’s take a look at some of the highlights from this new law and find out how you can stay compliant while protecting yourself and your business from cybercriminals.

SA’s new cybercrimes act explained

The overall intention of the new Act is to define what digital crimes are, make them illegal in law, and give the authorities the power to prosecute cybercriminals.

In terms of the Act, the following actions are now illegal in South Africa:

  • Cyber fraud
  • Cyber forgery and uttering
  • Cyber extortion
  • The theft of incorporate property including patents
  • and other aggravated offences
  • Unlawful access to computer networks
  • Unlawful interceptions of data including acquisition, capturing and copying
  • Unlawful acts in respect of software and hardware tools
  • Unlawful interferences with data or a computer program

Looking at the list above, it’s clear that any actions that are carried out online with the intention of defrauding a person or business, obtaining data illegally, or using unlicensed software are now totally illegal in South Africa.

The new law also extends to online behaviour, with a special focus on messages sent electronically to other users.

be careful what you type – the law is watching

We’ve all been annoyed or maybe even upset by abusive social media messages and other types of electronic communication, but from now on perpetrating online abuse could land individuals and businesses in legal trouble.

The Cybercrimes Act make the following punishable by law:

  • Electronic messages that incite damage to property or violence
  • Data messages that threaten persons with damage to property or violence
  • Messages containing  X-rated images

Jealous ex-partners posting revenge pics, political leaders distributing the contact details of rivals and  journalists they dislike, and angry citizens encouraging others to carry out crimes like looting could all face the wrath of the law in terms of the Act.

avoid legal trouble with a strict communications policy

The days when ordinary citizens, businesses, and political figures could tweet or post what they liked without fear of prosecution are officially over. Anyone convicted of contravening the Cybercrimes Act could face a fine and / or a prison sentence of up to 15 years.

A company communication policy that emphasises politeness, diplomacy, and avoiding the dissemination of sensitive information is essential for every business, and individuals should follow the same guidelines when they interact on social media.

To add an extra layer of privacy and data protection to your business or personal information, take a look at our range of secure cloud storage packages today.

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