NIGERIA WILL LOSE $15MILLION TO CYBER THEFT RELATED CASES BY 2020
Every Nigerian who has reached the age of maturity in one way or the other must have become conversant with the phrase 'yahoo-yahoo'. This is well known in the country as the act of using the internet to defraud citizens, organizations, public/private companies both within and outside the country.
According to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), in 2007 alone, the banking sector lost N7.3 Billion to cyber crimes. The 2007 internet crime report ranked Nigeria as third on the list of top ten countries where cyber crimes are perpetrated.
Also in 2012 through internet fraud the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) reported that Banks lost N20billion.
Across the globe $800billion is lost through cyber crimes annually.
A cyber survey conducted recently indicated that Nigeria is the most internet fraudulent country in Africa. Therefore this article concentrates only on the financial bases of cyber-crime.
Internet-fraud ranges from misuse of public web application system penetration, theft of property info/funds, denial of service, e-mail scams hacking, distribution of viruses, impersonation, inside net abuse, laptop theft, sabotage telecom fraud and website defacement among other things.
Cyber theft, another trend of modern day terrorism has painted the image of the country as hackers continue to rob accounts of customers and financial institutions at large.
The country has adopted a cashless regime; this would become another big challenge to the entire e-commerce system as Nigerians now carry out transactions with a high level of fearful caution. Therefore the most pressing question in my own opinion is; How prepared are we to embrace this policy?
It would be recalled that a world cyber security conference was held recently in Abuja on September 17, 2013 with the theme, “cyber
insecurity: A latent threat to National Security and economic development”. Organized by the First Lady of the Federal Republic of Nigeria Dr Mrs. Dame Patience Jonathan who is the ITU's child online protection cop champion. This conference was organized to portray the issues regarding cyber security.
Cyber insecurity stands a traumatic challenge before the Nigeria Police, State Security Service (SSS), Economic and Financial Crimes Commission(EFCC), Ministry of Science and Technology, Ministry of Finance, Telecommunication Companies such as MTN, Glo, Airtel, Etisalat and others including citizens who are prone to making financial transactions in their day to day activities.
During the conference, the Israeli prime Minister said that “online crime has worse consequences than war crimes, because of the colossal damage it causes”. Also a member of the ITU Dr. Tunde Lemo, Deputy Director of Operations at Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), said that “cyber-crimes are also very strongly perpetuated with banking and electronic fund transfers”.
Cyber crime has become so rampant in Nigeria's information and Communications Technology ICT domain.
In this country, however, since social Networking has become a major pastime for majority of citizens especially the youths who currently spends most of their time at home devises means of equipping their interment knowledge to make quick cash in this manner. The evolution of technology is consistent and the introduction of every new method the criminal devotes new means and resources to detecting the lapses of the security invention of these Organizations then penetrates in and carry out their operations. These perpetrators in cyber theft are well informed, smart and versatile on matters concerning technology.
They are well organized and ahead of some security agencies in Nigeria.
They would sit in the comfort of their homes and divert huge some of money. Consumers, investors, companies have been victims of these battering act every other day. It has not only brought credibility and ill repute problem to Nigeria but has retarded the interest of foreign investors.
Cyber-theft has become so worrisome that good young Nigerians who know how to dance to the tune of I.C.T assembled with an initiative to combat these menace. I was amazed when I came across a private cyber security agency. First of its kind in the country; some weeks ago named 'Upgraded Era'. The company has mapped out strategies to safe guarding both human and internet dealings. The C.E.O, A Veteran, patriotic undergraduate of Cyber Security Science Department of Federal University of Technology Minna Mr. Victor Ephikparobo Idonor, in my chat with him expressed his major concern on issues regarding the prevalence of cyber-crime and physical human insecurity. He also added that his team members in 'Upgraded Era' are on the mission to make merits out of this mere helm. He stressed that fighting cyber- insecurity required high level of intelligence to efficiently counter and break the bounds of these criminals whose intelligence and speed of committing the offenses is always intended to beat the security forces.
I therefore call on all the concerned Nigeria security agencies and Organizations in charge to speed-up their trains as they have faced torrid times fighting fraudsters who unarguably operate with high level of intelligence.
In 2004, the Obansanjo's administration formed a committee aimed at checking and combating cyber-crime – 'Nigerian cyber crime working group' (NCWG) but this group seem to have fallen asleep not to long after it was formed.
If the CBN keep making reports of the losses that Nigeria financial institutions are facing and no visible effort is been put in place, then more and more money would be lost before 2020, comparing the past records.
As a matter of urgency, regulatory agencies and law makers need to play an integral role. Since the National Assembly failed to enact cyber law much more disasters are in view for the nation. They need to collaborate with the ministry of science and technology, National communications commission and telecom companies to pass a cyber-crime law in order to protect consumers in the cashless scheme. Nigerians are waiting for it to be passed into law. Then we would know whether it will be an effective means in facing cyber-theft. There should be fraud detective units in the financial institutions. There is need for adequate training of those who are in charge of various security agencies, however, in the security forces, knowledgeable officers in the affairs of computer technology should be recruited adequately as the need to awaken (NCWG). Government should undertake the task to creating National data base to foresee the affairs of cyber-crime investigation.
Awareness campaigns such as symposiums and conferences should be organized from top Government/private stakeholders down to the grassroots by the National Orientation Agency and other related co-operate bodies to enlighten the Nigerian citizenry on computer security and cyber crime. It will also sensitize the users of E-banking facilities such as ATMS, POS and other gadgets used in financial transactions. They should bear in mind that these gatherings are not an avenue for them to drink and feast on meals in Aso rock but to work assiduously towards making e-commerce system safe for the entire nation.
Therefore let us rise with the approach to secure the global village, mega Businesses from the protracted evil of cyber- theft without further delays so as to enmasse the beginning of a new Era with 'Upgraded Era' in Nigeria. To explore this contemporary invention. I therefore urge you to visit the UPGRADED ERA website on www.upgradedera.com.
BY: IFEAYOLU NNADOZIE