• The lockdown has brought along increased policing which unfortunately led to some police and army members taking the law in their own hands by acting violently towards the public. Read our article published in Servamus: February 2021 dealing with this violence.

  • Food fraud is seldom talked about, but a crime that affects rich and poor and can be deadly. The horse meat scandal from 2013 – that was one example. Read the article published in Servamus: February 2021, to learn what food fraud entails.

  • Although many South Africans experienced hard lockdown as having to stay home and limit social exposure, it was a much different game for sex workers. They had to deal with unique challenges during the lockdown and we explore what they did in an article published in Servamus: February 2021..

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By Annalise Kempen

The current worldwide COVID-19 pandemic which resulted in various lockdown levels across the world, has opened new opportunities for criminals to exploit people - especially in cyberspace. Many people have in the process become more dependent on technology, the Internet and online platforms to work, study, meet, shop and interact with loved ones and family.

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) notes in a research brief entitled "COVID-19-related trafficking of medical products as a threat to public health" which was published in July 2020, that the increase in cyberattacks and online scams, correlates with the spread of COVID-19. It is no surprise that there has been an increase in such attacks and scams targeting especially hospitals and critical public infrastructure engaged in combating COVID-19, since the first quarter of 2020. Unfortunately, the UNODC does not expect that these cyberattacks and scams will end soon (UNODC, 2020).

The most common COVID-related cybercrimes
Two of the most common COVID-related cybercrimes that the UNODC (2020) have identified are COVID-19-related fraud where products (mostly medical) have been paid for, but were never delivered; and data that has been stolen and sold on the Dark Web. In terms of the types of online threats that have been experienced, the UNODC notes the following:

  • Fraudulent websites, where corporate websites have been manipulated to make the purchaser/client believe that the company is genuine and legitimate;
  • phishing and scamming which are perpetrated via e-mail where the perpetrator intends to steal the user's personal information; and
  • ransomware attacks, where the perpetrator either threatens to publish the victim's data or perpetually blocks the victim's access to his or her data, unless the victim pays a ransom. The crime is typically perpetrated through malware which is often activated after the victim has opened an e-mail attachment, or clicked on a link in an e-mail message.

INTERPOL (2020a) agrees that the types of cyberattacks relate to three areas, namely:

  • Malicious domains where the words "coronavirus", "corona-virus", "covid19" and "covid-19" have become common. Although many of these websites are legitimate, cybercriminals have been creating thousands of new websites during the past couple of months which send out spam campaigns and spread malware.
  • Malware, spyware and Trojans have been embedded in many interactive corona-virus maps and websites. Cybercriminals have been taking advantage of the widespread global communication on COVID-19 to mask their activities. These spam e-mails are set up in such a way as to trick users into clicking on links which download malware to their computers or mobile devices.
  • Ransomware have been perpetrated against many hospitals, medical centres and public institutions that have been so overwhelmed with the health crisis that they could not afford to be locked out of their systems, which criminals believe would make them more likely to pay the ransom. The ransomware can enter their systems through e-mails containing infected links or attachments, compromised employee credentials, or by exploiting a vulnerability in the system (INTERPOL, 2020a).

The use of the Dark Web in times of pandemics
Each week, the Evidence-based Cybersecurity Research Group based at the Georgia State University, USA collects data from 60 Dark Web markets and forums through its darknet analysis project. This research group has found that three major types of COVID-19 offerings have emerged since late February 2020 relating to protective gear, medication and services to help people commit fraud.


[This is only an extract of an article published in Servamus: January 2021. If you are interested in reading the rest of the article please contact Servamus’s offices. Tel: (012) 345 4622 or send an e-mail to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Ed.]

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Servamus - February 2021

COVID-19 affects almost every facet of people’s lives and nobody has been left untouched.
By Kotie Geldenhuys
COVID-19 does not only impact on society and the economy, but it also impacts and shapes organised crime and illicit markets.
By Kotie Geldenhuys
The current worldwide COVID-19 pandemic which resulted in various lockdown levels across the world, has opened new opportunities for criminals to exploit people - especially in cyberspace.
By Kotie Geldenhuys
“Bravery is not the absence of fear, but action in the face of fear” - Mark Messier.
By Kotie Geldenhuys

Pollex - February 2021

Introduction Amendments to the Private Security Industry Regulations, 2002 as published in Government Gazette No 23120 dated 14 February 2002 (“the 2002 Regulations”) are published on p966 to p985 of Part 8 of Government Gazette No 43495 dated 3 July 2020.
Read More - S v Lungisa (696/2019) [2020] ZASCA 99 (9 September 2020) (SCA)
Mr Andile Lungisa, the accused, was convicted on 17 April 2018 before the magistrate’s court, Port Elizabeth (“the trial court”) on a charge of assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.

Letters - February 2021

Capson Phuti Kabe was born on 12 August 1960. He was a disciplinarian, a witty public speaker and a seasoned speech writer
Background In Ask Pollex of Servamus: January 2021, Pollex referred to an article that was published in Maroela Media relating to police stations’ areas of jurisdiction.
February Magazine Cover

Servamus' Mission

Servamus is a community-based safety and security magazine for both members of the community as well as safety and security practitioners with the aim of increasing knowledge and sharing information, dedicated to improving their expertise, professionalism and service delivery standards. It promotes sound crime management practices, freedom of speech, education, training, information sharing and a networking platform.