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SA’s Cybercrimes Bill is Passed into Law

Following the signing into law of the Cybersecurity Act in May, the President has now signed the Cybercrimes Act into law. These new laws provide SA with the legal wherewithal to pursue and protect against cybercrimes. There are open questions on how exactly the laws will be applied, particularly the requirements surrounding the notification to the authorities once a virus or hack has been uncovered by a company or organisation (this is required within 72 hours of the crime being detected). EFSA has indicated to government its concern that SMEs in particular will find it very onerous to have to report cybercrimes on their websites within that timeframe, unless they have top of the art anti-virus protection. We will be continuing to engage with government on the issues raised by implementation. Implementation will not start until the regulations are Gazetted.

Meanwhile, in what appears to be a major heist,  a pair of South African brothers have vanished, along with Bitcoin worth $3.6 billion from their cryptocurrency investment platform, Africrypt. A Cape Town law firm hired by investors says they cannot locate the brothers and has reported the matter to the Hawks. It has also warned crypto exchanges across the globe should any attempt be made to convert the digital coins. The first signs of trouble came in April, as Bitcoin was rocketing to a record highs. Africrypt COO, Ameer Cajee, informed clients that the company was the victim of a hack. He asked them not to report the incident, as it would slow down the recovery process of the missing funds. But some investors smelt a rat and  engaged a law firm, and a separate group started liquidation proceedings against Africrypt. The Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA) has said that the fraud looks like a Ponzi scheme, but that its hands are tied because cryptocurrency is not yet a regulated product in SA. The incident will encourage regulators’ efforts to impose order on the market amid rising cases of fraud.

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Alastair Tempest

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