I have been saying this for years. Your computer is not safe. It never has been and never will be. Despite the efforts of anti virus companies, banks and everyone else, Internet fraud has been increasing rapidly. There are no signs that it’s going to decrease soon. The reason is simple. It’s much, much safer from criminals to steal your money from somewhere in Russia than to storm into a bank with machine guns.
Once again my suspicions that these are mostly inside jobs has been confirmed. MyBroadband reported today that the FBI is being called in to help catch syndicates that have infiltrated Vodacom and ABSA. These insiders have been doing illegal sim swaps and committing internet banking fraud on mostly ABSA clients.
I have been going on about this for years but the only response I ever got from Vodacom and ABSA was that there is no problem. It seems that these two companies are masters in spinning the bullshit. The sad thing is that thousands of people have lots millions due to the negligence of both Vodacom and ABSA.
Five years ago I told Vodacom that their practice of allowing sim swaps without proper security verification is a serious security threat. They did nothing.
Mobile apps are far more secure than internet banking on your computer browser. Your computer browser (Internet Explorer, Chrome, Firefox) is probably the least secure piece of software on your computer. Every bank has a mobile banking app today. Stop using your computer to do your banking. Switch to the apps and you will not be exposed to the risk of spyware, malware and keyloggers.
The safest way to do your banking is by using the banks mobile apps on iPhone or iPad. Yes, I’m not the greatest Apple fan but Apple is way more secure than Android.
You have been warned. Continue using internet banking on your PC at your own peril.
We all know crime is totally out of control in South Africa. Government departments, political parties, NGO’s and the press are all speculating on the causes and the cures for this appalling state of affairs. Days are spent in think tanks discussing the socio political situation and how to reverse the moral decline of our society. Last year the NPA (National Prosecuting Authority) boasted about their 88% conviction rate, further confusing the issue. They neglected to point out that their definition of conviction rates involve only those cases brought to court. The vast majority of criminals are never even caught.
The fact is that South Africa’s conviction rate is closer to 5.7%. A staggering 74% of all violent crimes do not even make it to court. More than 17,000 people are murdered each year. More than 90% of the criminals that commit murder are never convicted.
In South Africa you have a 94% chance of getting away with murder
The answer to the question of what causes our extraordinarily high crime rate is very simple. The world average conviction rate is more than 50%. This means that if you commit a crime in the rest of the world there is a 50% chance that you are going to be caught and convicted. In South Africa however you have a 94% chance of getting away with it.
The fact is that crime pays in South Africa. Yes, there are many socio economic issues and inequality drives the criminals to do what they do, but the real reason is that crime pays. It’s easier to make a living through crime than to do honest labour. There is no effective deterrent. Not with such a low conviction rate.
It’s not the fault of our police force either. They are overworked and underpaid. We need to re-energise our police force. We need to invest more in recruiting and training quality policemen and women. We need to reverse this horrific statistic and that can only be done by arresting and convicting more criminals. It’s really not that complicated.
We have all heard about the economist Dawie Roodt and his family being attacked in his home in Pretoria. It’s a terrifying story and a reality for many South Africans that have fallen victim to mindless, ruthless and murderous gangsters.
Dawie was sitting in his study when his daughter entered the study accompanied by 3 intruders. Apparently one had a gun, one had a knife and the other had a panga. In the house was his wife and their three children. They were tied up, gagged and blindfolded and systematically robbed of their possessions. Eventually Dawie managed to convince the one with the knife to take him to his car under the auspices that he had money in the car. He managed to free his hands and overpower the robber, but not before being seriously wounded in the process. The power went off due to loadshedding and the robbers fled. Dawie was rushed to hospital. Thankfully no-one else was injured or killed.
Don’t be lulled into a false sense of security.
One thing stuck by me reading his account of the horrific incident. Dawie said that he didn’t know if attacking the robber was the right thing to do. He’s an economist, well versed in accounting but not in the martial arts.
What should he have done? Do you know what you need to do in such an event? Can it be prevented? What can we learn from this?
I have been trained in unarmed combat and was a instructor in the national defence force and South African police. I have been practising and teaching self-defence for the past 30 years and I would like to share some thoughts that could save your life and the lives of your family. Hindsight is a perfect art as they say, but that is how we learn. Through our own experiences and the experiences of others. Let us not allow this opportunity to learn escape us.
You are never safe.
Don’t think because you live in a security estate that you are safe. Yes, you are safer, but not immune. Don’t think that because the estate has an electric fence and cameras that you are properly protected. You are not. Few people that live in security estates have proper security. Dawie Roodt also though he was safe in a secure estate. We know how that turned out. Don’t be lulled into a false sense of security.
Invest in proper security.
Many people have security. They have burglar bars that are not burglar proof. They have electric fences that are easily scaled by intruders. They have cameras that mean nothing, because identifying a criminal after the fact is too late. They have dogs that can be easily poisoned. They own guns but don’t know how to use them, or keep them locked up in a safe.
Don’t think that standard burglar bars are adequate. I have seen criminals crawl through burglar bars that would seem impossible. There is also no point in burglar bars if your doors are constantly open.
Get decent perimeter security and early warning detection system. Early detection could be in the form of beams around the perimeter of your property. Make sure your security is serviced regularly and in good working order. Make sure your family knows how to operate your security systems.
If you can afford it, employ a guard at night. I know there are people that are going to say that it’s an overkill, but I can’t put a cost on the lives of my family. Get a guard from a reputable security company. It will be the best investment you can ever make for your family.
Prevention is better than cure. If the criminals find your property too difficult to breach, they will move their attentions elsewhere. Make sure you are not regarded as an easy target.
Health and fitness
If you are unhealthy, unfit and overweight you can’t protect your family. Look after your body and exercise regularly.
Invest in self defence training for your family. If you have practised scenarios where you are attacked in your home you will be better prepared to deal with it. Importantly, your family will know what to do and will react instinctively in a crisis situation, increasing your chances of survival ten fold. By self-defence I don’t mean the local Karate school. Karate is about as helpful as a plastic knife. Learn self-defence from ex military or police trainers.
Submit or fight?
Every house invasion is different and your reaction will depend on a number of situations. Suffice to say that by not resisting you will have a better chance of survival. This is not necessarily true in a farm setup because robbers have much more time on a farm. It is likely that they will take their time to torture and hurt you and your family. In a residential area they have to be very quick. They don’t have time. The longer they stay the more dangerous it becomes. You have to get them out as soon as possible. Give them what they want – all of it. Don’t even think about it. Don’t try and be clever and waste their time. If they get irritated then you are in trouble.
You can only consider to resist if you KNOW that you are going to win. You can’t gamble with the lives of your family. This means that you must have a clear opportunity to overpower them. Given the right opportunity it is possible, but the odds in Dawie’s case of 3-1 were not good.
Always target the most dangerous one first. The guy with the gun is your first target. If you are able to overpower him and take the gun, you will have the upper hand. In Dawie’s case this could work, but not if the other guys also had guns.
Never split them up. Don’t separate the bad guys because you will be leaving your family alone. Even if you manage to overpower one bad guy, the others will still be with your family and that’s very dangerous. Stick with your family at all times. Stay close to the most dangerous guy. Wait for the right opportunity. You have to get your hands on the firearm in order to deal with the other bad guys. If they are any good, you won’t be able to. Resign yourself to your fate by submitting. Only attack if you KNOW you are going to succeed, because failure can cause the death of your entire family. Knowing when to attack and how to disarm someone requires training.
So what can we learn from the Dawie Roodt incident? As I said, hindsight is a perfect art, but there are lessons. This doesn’t mean that Dawie did anything wrong either. He did the best he could at the time. Perhaps you can do better by learning from his experience.
Don’t have a false sense of security. Invest in security even if you stay in a security estate. No-one is safe.
Be healthy and fit.
Learn self defence from a reputable instructor.
Fight only if the odds are in your favour.
Some more of my articles about security and crime: