Nigeria: Cyber Thieves Raid Banks, Inflict Losses

(file photo)
19 October 2018

Nigerian financial system has been jolted by a lethal development; and that is the growing activities of cyber criminals who work in and outside the system.

Website cloing, Identity fraud and Automated Teller Machine (ATM) scams, are now so rampant that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), banks, switching companies, the police and users are having sleepless nights.

In 2017, Nigeria was estimated to have lost about $450 million to cybercrimes.

The most common today is the fake bank alerts scam which is growing in scope and leaving in its losses in its wake.

In this scam, fraudsters pose as potential buyers of goods or services provided by the bank customer and after both parties have agreed on a price, send fake SMS's indicating they have deposited money into the sellers' account.

The criminals usually count on their target, believing the SMS is real and would not bother to confirm with his/her bank before releasing the goods.

There is also website cloning scam where websites of genuine financial institutions are cloned are the scammers using what is known as phishing, the criminals send fraudulent SMSes and emails to victims directing them fake Web sites where they are asked to input sensitive data.

In the emails, the criminals had attachments that, when clicked, secretly install "spyware" that can capture personal information and send it to third parties over the Internet.

With the information supplied by victims, the criminals successfully broke into the victims' bank accounts leaving tales of woes and losses.

Though the financial institutions are mostly affected by cybercrimes, all other sectors are culpable and assured Nigerians that financial institutions are strictly compelled to adhere to CBN regulations to secure online financial transactions.

The CBN, said it is working on modalities for new regulations to stem the rising losses that emanate from cybercrime and technology risk in the financial sector.

Mrs. Aishah Ahmad, deputy governor, CBN, said that "There is compelling need to redesign regulations that will address risk that may emanate from the new emerging and increasing modern class of financial firms."

Elsewhere, electronic transaction switching and payment processing companies are building more security layers on top of existing ones to check the activities of the fraudsters.

The Police on the other hand said that that the development was being monitored and that the Commission is inviting useful information that would help burst the crime.

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