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‘Hackers target Nigerian banks’

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By Elizabeth Adegbesan

As the world combated another wave of cyber attacks which disrupted businesses on a massive scale recently, information technology experts have called on banks and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to adopt radical measures to protect the financial system, including encouraging capacity building in hacking and other forms of cyber security competences.

Few months ago, a Russian cyber security firm, Kaspersky, reported that     hackers working for North Korea targeted Nigerian banks among financial institutions in 18 countries to steal money to finance the country’s nuclear programme.

However, some bank customers, who spoke to  Sunday Vanguard, claimed that they were aware and are unhappy with the development.

Mr Olaiya Abdulazeez, CEO of Zeetech Computer College, said, “I don’t feel okay with such happening. It is awful to hear that banks where people keep their money and other asset were hacked. If Nigerian banks can be hacked, that means our money is not safe. I was shocked when I discovered that some banks still use window 7, which is outdated.   Why not install window 10 which has more features and aid security. It doesn’t enable unauthorized persons to by-pass a system’s password when it is pass worded.”

Also, Mr. Ayihawu Imole, an instructor in Yemtech Computer College, said: “I am aware and it is a thing of regret that Nigerian banks can be hacked. As a bank customer I no longer feel comfortable with this development. One day I can wake up to discover that my bank account has being emptied by hackers. The banks should fathom out immediate measures and employ them to combat cyber crime.”

Mr. Feyi Ogoji, addressing the issue of cyber security at a workshop organized by Ciuci Consulting in Lagos, said that fraud is an emerging challenge for the banks.

He said, “The number one emerging challenge for the banks I think is the area of fraud. There is a lot of fraud on mobile and on internet banking and customers don’t get any feedback. We are actually losing customers. It is a problem for us and it is something that we really need to tackle very quickly,

“Right now the whole world is dealing with this issue of Ransomware, WANA CRY (a virus that looks like a word or excel or PowerPoint file and it is less than 20kilobytes) and all that. These hackers are hard working. They are former bankers, they are former IT people, and they are lawyers. Hacking is full time job for hackers. They don’t target individuals. They target companies, banks, oil companies, and all sorts of people. Obviously we are going to have a big problem in this area. I think it is one of the biggest challenges we have.”

Sunday Vanguard investigations revealed that the causes of cyber crime in banks and other financial institutions are as a result of unimproved security measures, incompetent bank staff and IT personnel.

Mr.Yomi Adesakin, a  system analyst and lecturer, said: “Security is a daily activity and especially in an environment where IT is evolving every day.   If our Nigerian banks are hacked, it simply means we are one step behind. So it is just a challenge. The IT frequency experts now need to top their skills to prevent future occurrence because hackers are always everywhere. There are always counter security measures everywhere every day. Even institutions, they are targets for hackers. So the banks should not rest on their oars. Some banks I know also pay some companies to hack their website in order to know how good their security measures are. On daily basis since it is a financial institution, what they need to do is to keep improving their security measures and may be that is what we are proposing that if their database can be secured bio-metrically, security breaches will be minimal if not eradicated.”

Similarly, Mr. Chris Nwozuro, a computer engineer, said, “This development is as a result of inadequate system security and lack of trained IT personnel in our financial system.   When a system is hacked an application can be developed to crack it for breakthrough. This act is preventable.  The CBN should train and employ young professionals who have interest in hacking. This might require sending them to countries like Korea, India, Philippine and Indonesia where hacking is highly practiced.”

 

Mr. Olapade Ogunfehinmi, a system analyst, who also commented on the issue said, “The most secured organization in the world are Nigerian banks. Nigerian banks are much secured. You dare not do all those illegal things you do to get money elsewhere in Nigerian banks.   I strongly believe when you are talking about hacking, anybody can come up with a means to hack. We have had series of experience as far as hacking is concerned. But linking it to North Korea I don’t know. This act can be prevented in other not be repeated in future. I suggest that the CBN should have Nigerian made hackers in our financial system especially the banks.”

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