Another South African regulator hit by cyberattack

·
April 18, 2024
·
6 min read
cyberattack

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Ciao,

Victoria from Techpoint here,

Here's what I've got for you today:

  •  Another South African regulator hit by cyberattack
  • The crypto syndicate sabotaging the naira
  • Equity Bank Fraud: 19 Suspects Arrested 
  • A new database to halt tax evasion in Keny

South African regulator hit by cyberattack

cyberattack

The International Trade Administration Commission of South Africa (ITAC) was hit by a cyber attack in January 2024, which is causing quite a stir.

The attack exposed some personal info of the folks involved with ITAC. The chief commissioner, Ayabonga Cawe, took to social media to let everyone know what was going on. 

He mentioned how cyber attacks are becoming increasingly common and assured everyone that they are working to tighten security. Well, it seems like South Africa is a prime target for these cybercrooks lately. 

Remember the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC) had a security breach too, exposing info on employees and clients? Even the big dogs like the Government Employees Pension Fund got targeted.

The ITAC website where they posted about the breach was down when the news broke. Word on the street is that the attack locked ITAC employees out of their systems and scrambled up their files. 

And get this: the hackers even had the guts to demand a ransom to unlock everything!

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But ITAC isn't sitting on their hands. They've beefed up their security measures and are working to get things back to normal. And

The Information Regulator, led by advocate Pansy Tlakula, is on high alert, getting bombarded with breach notifications left and right.

These breaches carry serious consequences under the Protection of Personal Information Act (POPIA). Fines up to R10 million or even prison time are on the table.


 The crypto syndicate sabotaging the naira

Hands up if you think Binance was really behind the naira devaluation! Whether you think so or not, this ride is one you and I must take together. 

Let’s go. There’s been quite a stir lately about whether Binance had a hand in messing with Nigeria's currency, the naira. It's been a whole saga, with Nigeria cracking down on crypto and giving Binance a hard time, from blocking its sites to even arresting some of its folks.

Now, some Nigerians are saying, "Hold up, don't blame Binance for the naira's big drop in value." They think the government's being unfair.

Interestingly, Ray Youssef, the CEO of NoOnes, is on the same page. But he's also saying Binance could've dodged this mess if they played their cards right.

Youssef, who knows Nigeria pretty well from his time running Paxful there, spilled the beans in an interview with Bolu, the crypto and emerging tech go-to person here in Techpoint Africa.

He said he heard from some political bigwigs that there's this group in Nigeria playing dirty with the naira, using tricks like buying it cheap and selling it high on the black market. 

Apparently, they were using all sorts of tools, including crypto platforms like the ones Binance runs, to pull off their schemes. And while the government was trying to crack down on these bad apples, innocent P2P merchants got caught up in the mess.

And guess what? Binance got dragged into it too. They’re not exactly innocent bystanders. Check out Bolu's latest article for the juicy details here!


Equity Bank fraud: 19 suspects arrested

handcuffs

Have you heard about the debit card fraud that went down at Equity Bank in Kenya? Well, hackers managed to swipe a whopping $2.1 million

However, Equity Bank wasn't about to let those crooks get away with it, though. It jumped into action, shutting down all the accounts that got the stolen cash and even nabbing 19 suspects in the process. The police are still on the hunt for more info, so it's not over yet.

So, here's how it went down: the scammers pulled off a sneaky move called a "card-not-present" scam, using stolen card info to shop online and drain unsuspecting folks' accounts. Crafty, huh?

Equity Bank uncovered that a chunk of the loot — about $1.3 million — got funneled into over 500 of their own accounts. And get this: some of the cash ended up in Safaricom's pockets, too.

Nonetheless, Equity Bank's is teaming up with Safaricom and other banks to track down where the money went. Turns out, these scammers had to break up the transactions into smaller chunks to avoid suspicion, since there are limits on how much you can move around in one go.

This isn't the first time Kenya's had to deal with financial fraud. Just a few years back, the Financial Reporting Centre flagged over $600 million tied to all sorts of shady business, from card fraud to terrorism financing. 

And to top it all off, this fraud frenzy happened right after Kenya's National Assembly gave the thumbs up to some new regulations aimed at cracking down on cybercrime.


A new database to halt tax evasion in Kenya

Kenya Revenue Authority

The Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) is cooking up a new plan to keep tabs on multinational companies and ensure they're paying their fair share of taxes. 

Essentially, the tax collector is setting up a database for transfer pricing, which means it wants to monitor how these big companies are handling transactions across borders.

Transfer pricing is the prices companies set when they're trading between themselves, especially if they're part of the same big corporate family. 

See, some of these multinational giants have been playing games with their taxes, using sneaky tactics like transfer pricing to wiggle out of paying what they owe. 

But KRA is onto them. It wants to use this new database to dig into the nitty-gritty of these transactions and ensure everything adds up.

It’s even thinking about adding details like pricing and margins for stuff like manufacturing, distribution, and services into the mix. 

It’s not just focusing on the big fish. It’s also rolled out a new platform called "eTIMS Lite" for smaller businesses to keep their tax affairs in check. It's all part of KRA's mission to tighten up the tax system and make sure everyone pays their dues.


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Have a lovely Thursday!

Victoria Fakiya for Techpoint Africa.

She's autistic and interested in mental health and how technology can help Africans with mental disorders. Find her on Twitter @latoria_ria.
She's autistic and interested in mental health and how technology can help Africans with mental disorders. Find her on Twitter @latoria_ria.
She's autistic and interested in mental health and how technology can help Africans with mental disorders. Find her on Twitter @latoria_ria.

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