Editor's Comment

Police must up their game against cybercrimes

WITH the advancement in new technologies, issues of cyber-security have been of concern for many stakeholders.
This is because with advancement in technology, criminals have also become sophisticated in the way they commit crime.
Through cyberspace, which is an important part of our day-to-day lives, criminals have found easy ways to penetrate private lives, businesses, schools, hospitals, defence wings and even governments, among others.
Technology has paved way to cyber-related crimes such as fraud, cyber-bullying and exploitation of children, firearm and human trafficking.
On the cyberspace, crimes such as malware proliferation, ransomware and hacking are very common.
Cyberspace has become a very dangerous platform for users across the globe, including Zambia.
The complication with cyber-related crimes is that one can commit a crime in another country without necessarily being physically present there.
One does not need to cross borders because the cyberspace has broken those barriers.
This has virtually made countries like Zambia vulnerable to advanced criminal activities by both local and foreign perpetrators.
The complex nature of the cyberspace also allows criminals to commit crimes under cover by manipulating systems.
This makes it difficult to trace and arrest perpetrators.
This is why Minister of Home Affairs Steven Kampyongo is urging the police to keep pace with technological developments and have the required expertise and skills to deal with evolving digital crime at the national, regional and international levels.
It is a known fact that our law enforces still have a long way to go in terms of detecting, investigating and prosecuting cyber-related crimes.
We’ve had a lot of fraud cases committed through the cyberspace where some citizens have lost huge sums of money.
Some unsuspecting members of the public have been duped by fraudsters claiming to be prominent people offering jobs or scholarships.
For instance, Zambia Information and Communications Technology Authority (ZICTA) has in the past deleted hundreds of fake Facebook accounts used by criminals to defraud individuals. Some of the pages impersonated government officials, including the Head of State.
Children, due to their nativity, have also been major victims through cyber-bullying and sexual exploitation.
Many young girls across the globe, especially from developing countries, have been duped into prostitution in foreign countries under the pretext that they are being given a scholarship or job.
When leaving the country all what these young people know is that they are going to school or to do decent jobs.
However, when they reach their destination, they realise that they have been duped. Such are common cases of cybercrime across the globe.
Police, prosecutors and judges therefore need to understand these crimes. They need to have the right tools to investigate and go after the criminals and protect the victims. They also need to be able to prosecute and adjudicate cases.
However, law enforcers cannot effectively tackle cybercrimes if they lack necessary knowledge and skills.
It is therefore important for our law enforcement agencies to invest in continuous training of men and women in uniform to be able to fight cybercrime.
Law enforcers need sophisticated skills to deal with evolving digital crime at the national, regional and international levels.
Given that cybercrime transcends borders, it is also important for law enforcement agencies to collaborate at regional, continental and global level to understand and fight the scourge.
Law enforcement agencies must know that there is no time to relax because cybercrimes keep on evolving as technology evolves.
Law enforcers have an obligation to ensure that they are up to task in terms on emerging crime trends otherwise they will lose their relevance.

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