#romancescams | Cyberattacks may rise, experts warn Nigerians – Punch Newspapers

’Femi Asu

Cybersecurity experts under the aegis of the Cyber Security Experts Association of Nigeria have warned that Nigerians will face cyberthreats through money transfer fraud, identity theft and romance scams, among others.

The President, CSEAN, Mr Remi Afon, pointed out that every device connected to the Internet presented a new target for attackers and each new social media post created new risks for social engineering.

He said in a statement on Sunday that cybersecurity would continue to gain traction globally this year and should be at the top of the mind of the Nigerian government, individuals and top executives of organisations.

He recalled that in September 2019, an internationally coordinated law enforcement operation spanning the United States, the United Kingdom, Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana, France, Italy, Japan, Turkey and Malaysia resulted in 281 global arrests of cybercriminals, including 167 Nigerians.

Afon said $3.7m was seized, and the disruption of approximately $118m in fraudulent wire transfers was achieved.

He said, “As we are receiving various cybersecurity predictions across the globe, CSEAN is taking a deep dive into specific cybersecurity threats Nigeria should expect to face in 2020 and beyond, taking into consideration recent trends and input from experts in the industry.

“At the end of 2018, the number of devices connected to the Internet has reached 22 billion worldwide, according to the latest research from Strategy Analytics. The report predicts that 38.6 billion devices will be connected by 2025, and 50 billion by 2030.”

Afon noted that millions of devices would be connected to the Internet in Nigeria this year.

Citing data from the Nigerian Communications Commission, he said as of October 2019, the total number of active telephone subscribers in Nigeria was about 180 million while the number of active Internet subscribers was about 123.5 million.

“Over the next year, we can expect an increase in targeted cyberattacks that will affect individuals, Internet Service Providers, government ministries, department and agencies, telecommunication companies and banks,” he said.

According to him, the attacks to watch out for in Nigeria are business email compromise, social engineering in form of phishing campaign, ransomware, supply chain attacks, insider threats, and attack on free public Wi-Fi.

Afon said, “Attacks that will continue to originate from Nigeria cybercrime gangs with their international collaborators in 2020 and beyond will be wire fraud vis-à-vis BEC, identity theft, romance scams, fraudulent-check scams, gold-buying scams, advance-fee scams, and credit card scams.

“Also, BEC attacks are growing in prevalence and creativity and will continue to top cyberattacks originating from Nigeria for years to come. Nigerian cybercrime group in partnership with their international cohorts now use spoofed email addresses and virtual private networks to anonymise their activities and infiltrate servers and email systems of various companies to identify large financial transactions.

“The hackers then communicate with company employees and business parties via email by impersonating other companies or clients and lure them into transferring large amounts of money to their bank accounts.”

He said ransomware would continue to be on the rise in 2020, adding, “Due to a lack of regulation mandating cyberattack disclosure by organisations in Nigeria, it is difficult to obtain records of ransomware attacks last year in Nigeria.”

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