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Cybercrime: Microsoft warns Nigerian companies on menacing phishing threat

By Juliet Umeh

Technology Company, Microsoft, has raised the alarm over the damaging effects of cybersecurity threat called phishing, warning Nigerian companies and individuals to guard against it.

Cybercrime

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Phishing is a cyber attack method which a fraudulent cybercriminal uses to obtain sensitive information such as usernames, passwords and credit card details from unsuspecting online users, disguising as a trustworthy entity. Typically carried out by email spoofing or instant messaging, it often directs users to enter personal information at a fake website which matches the look and feel of the legitimate site.

According to Microsoft, phishing is the number one threat in Nigeria today.

It said phishing has the highest growth rate among the four other identified key threats that have risen to the forefront to undermine the fight against cybercrime.

The software giant’s   recently published Security Intelligence Report, said in several attacks that happened in the past year including an overview of the threat landscape, phishing claims the higher rate.

Digital Advisor for Microsoft Middle East & Africa, Mr. Daniel Adeyemo, at a round table conference in Lagos recently, said: “From our ongoing research, we found that in the past year ransomware attacks as a vector declined, software supply chains have become a risk, cryptocurrency mining is prevalent, and phishing still remains the preferred attack method.

“While this may indicate progress in blocking ransomware attacks against organisations, it also draws our attention to new avenues now being identified for attacks. These new avenues are very easily ignored by organisations but are a recognisable ‘pathway’ for penetration.”

He said that with constant ongoing attacks rising to the surface across the African continent, it’s evident that governments and industries have a long way to go with successfully mitigating risks when it comes to cybercrime.

However, Adeyemo believed that security is a journey and not a destination and must be addressed holistically by everyone and not by a single vendor.

He said: “By working closely with our partners, governments, industry, and the security ecosystem our aim is to ensure consumers and businesses can trust the technology they make use of – not viewing these solutions as barriers to technology adoption.”

Also, the company’s Country Manager for Nigeria & Ghana, Mr. Akin Banuso, expressed worry that the trend is gathering momentum that spells danger to the business community, and encouraged organizations to guard against cybercrime.

He noted that as organisations continue to digitally transform, so does their exposure to threats within cyberspace.

Banuso said: “Organisations need to leverage ever-improving capabilities with advanced technologies like Artificial Intelligence to efficiently combat cybercrime. We have a responsibility to educate businesses about these recent developments; this is what encompassed our goal for this event.

“While there will always be new threats, attacks and technologies, organizations, and companies can begin to take action today to address security concerns and improve their security postures. It is critical for companies to strengthen their core security hygiene across areas like monitoring, antivirus, patch, and operating systems, adopt modern platforms and comprehensive identity, security and management solutions, and to leverage features offered within cloud services.”

He added: “It is just as important to create education and awareness across employee populations in order to build and sustain a pervasive security culture.”

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