Computer fraud


Computer fraud has shown obvious appeal. Experts say only one out of 22 000 computer criminals is sent to prison. They estimate that only one percent of all computer crime is detected, only 14 per cent of that is reported, and only three percent of those cases ever results in jail sentences.

The average dollar amount in reported computer frauds is estimated to be US$600 000 ($3 000 000) versus an average of US$23 000 ($115 000) using manual methods.

“Hacking (computer fraud) is a completely impersonal, dehumanised crime. None of them (hackers) would dream of taking a knife or a gun and mugging someone on the street … Face to face, the hackers, perfectly nice, well mannered, well behaved and polite. Someone who has never been in trouble, someone who is introverted. But when they get behind the keyboard, they unleash their imaginations and hidden personalities and they turn into Genghis Khan or Adolf Hitler. A 12-year old called himself Napoleon Bonaparte,” according to Profits of Deceit.

Perhaps the only thing that is to Zimbabwe’s advantage is that computers are still reasonably difficult to come by. But their prices have been getting cheaper since the introduction of the open general import licence and more people should be able to afford them within a few years.

The other thing that might help too is that our telecommunications system is in such a state of chaos that it might be to the detriment of hackers. But on the other hand it could also help them as it might be too simple to manipulate.


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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.


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