The government has identified at least 27 cases where a syndicate has swindled more than R199-million from government departments in four provinces over the past three years -- using cyber-spyware.
Some of the alleged perpetrators have appeared in court and their assets have been seized. Several state employees have also been dismissed.
Motlalepula Motaung, head of internal audit services, said the syndicate has been using advanced spyware to commit the cybercrimes, which have been identified in four provinces: KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga, Limpopo and the Eastern Cape.
She said the crime was first identified in 2005.
Motaung explained that the syndicate has been identifying corrupt officials at government departments and would also approach suppliers that the department did business with.
"Officials and suppliers would then be given spy-work -- they would be asked to connect a spy-plug on to a computer and download any information they want," she explained.
Motaung said the syndicate would then be able to access any information without needing passwords and would use it to defraud the government of money.
The device is as small as a memory stick and is connected to the back of a PC.
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