Saturday, May 18, 2024

EFCC, experts warn Nigerians against rising cyber attacks

“We need to be safe. Protect your BVN. Your BVN must be protected. Don’t let it out, ” he said.

• April 21, 2024
EFCC
EFCC[Credit: The Cable]

Economic and financial crimes operatives and cybersecurity experts have reiterated the importance of cybersecurity awareness among Nigerians to stem rising cyber attacks and the attendant distresses.

The Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC), the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) and other experts spoke on Saturday at a cybersecurity awareness workshop.

It was organised by H’QUBE Consultating Ltd. for students of the University of Lagos (UNILAG).

The workshop, titled “Impact of Cybersecurity Awareness at Combating Cybercrimes”, was held at NITHUB, a tech innovation of the UNILAG.

The stakeholders urged the participants to ensure that they do not fall victim to cybercriminals through careless handling of their sensitive information, including National Identification Number(NIN) and Bank Verification Number (BVN) data.

Addressing the participants, Lagos zonal commander of EFCC, Michael Wetkas, urged the participants not to compromise security of their data and never to cross the red flags.

Mr Wetkas, who was represented by Suleiman Jijiwa, the deputy head, cybercrimes, EFCC, said that crimes had changed from the usual bloody attacks to digital, and many people had fallen prey because of greed and ignorance.

“All they (cyber fraudsters) need now is laptop, network and knowledge. Crimes have no border, unlike before. You have to be there physically to perpetrate it.

“EFCC is watching. If you see something, say something, then we will do something to arrest the criminals,” he said.

Mr Wetkas urged the students to imbibe the culture of reporting cyber crimes right on time, saying that such could be done anonymously.

According to him, every cybercrime can be traced if reported to the appropriate authorities.

Advising the participants to always protect their data and not be hasty in releasing it without cross checking, Wetkas added that students must mind whatever they push on social media to avoid undue exposure to risks.

Urging the students to stay clear of cybercrimes, the commander regretted that some staff of financial institutions were always compromised.

According to him, the commission shares information with other agencies in the cyber space within and outside the country to clamp down on internet fraudsters.

Also speaking, Ezike Onyema, representing state zonal head of ICPC, Abdul-Kabir Elelu, who emphasised data protection, urged the participants to be safety conscious on cyber space.

“We need to be safe. Protect your BVN. Your BVN must be protected. Don’t let it out, ” he said.

Mr Ben Ekwere, a financial expert, who also urged participants to alway double check the security features of whatever website being visited, said, ”the cost of cyber breaches is higher than what it will take to secure it.

In his remarks, Victor Odumuyiwa, the director, NITHUB, commended the organisers for empowering the students with knowledge and training to be solution providers.

Mr Odumuyiwa, who urged the students to be security aware and be careful of information they pushed out about themselves, added that they must also be experts in the cyber security space.

“If you are not greedy, you will not fall easily into the hands of the cyber criminals. Their tactics are to scare and lure. Be careful in providing information,” Mr Odumuyiwa of the Department of Computer Science, said.

Also speaking, Abdul-Azeez Ghazali, the chief executive officer, H’QUBE Consulting Limited, said that a lot more ought to be done in ensuring security in the digital space, describing humans as the weakest link.

According to him, the workshop is necessary because the level of investment in cybersecurity awareness is low in Nigeria.

“Data privacy must be ensured. You must be the guard. Nobody can protect you better than yourself. We must try to secure ourselves and be careful in digital space.

“We must be secure, but truly, nobody is immuned or free. We must keep improving our cyberspace security. Your pin must not be your date of birth.

“Most victims of cyber attacks undergo emotional distress, and many are really crying out there. Do not be reckless in digital space,” Mr Ghazali, a chartered accountant and cybersecurity expert, said.

Decrying bank insider collusion in aiding cyber attacks, Mr Ghazali urged the participants to beware of impersonators and identity theft on cyberspace.

He urged the people to always lock their SIM cards, to safeguard themselves.

The highlight of the event was the presentation of new laptop computers to two students. 

(NAN)

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