Under the magnifying glass

South Africa’s digital forensics sector is in desperate need of a manpower boost as technology’s influence increasingly seeps into crime.

27 June 2022

Danny Myburgh, Cyanre. Photo: Karolina Komendera

South Africa is a hot-bed of crime, from street-level shoplifting and cellphone-snatching, to violent home invasions, car-jackings and murders. There’s also the headlinegrabbing fraud and corruption found in corporate SA and across all levels of government. On top of that, there’s international growth in cybercrimes that affects us too; from identity theft to cyber attacks on organisations and critical infrastructure. The demand for digital forensics to help crack cases and catch criminals is growing.

In the modern day, crimes of all shapes and sizes, both physical and cyber, leave some form of tech-related fingerprints. “It’s almost impossible to commit a crime these days without leaving a digital footprint,” says Craig Pedersen, director and forensic investigator, TCG Digital Forensics. “Whether it’s captured on CCTV or a licence plate recognition camera, the presence of a cellphone, the theft of an electronic object, the financial aspect of moving any funds around. Every time you touch a computer keyboard, you leave a trace, on your machine, through a server, through the router, an outbound connection – a single email leaves about 10 to 12 different trace elements that can be interrogated. There’s an electronic aspect to all crime, and if you ignore it, you ignore some juicy evidence that will help the case in court.”

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