Internet fraudsters: US loses $5.3bn to Nigeria, other West Africa countries in 3 years

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Security concept: Cyber Crime on computer keyboard background

By Bukola Olanrewaju

Reports by Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), indicates that $5.3 billion have been lost to Nigeria and  other West Africa countries internet fraudsters in three years.

The report by cyber security firm CrowdStrike, claimed that these Internet fraudster has shifted their base to hijacking corporate emails.

“It is a much more lucrative venture that works by gaining access to corporate e-mail login details or passing off almost – identical addresses as the real deal, a scam known as business e-mail compromise (BEC)”, CrowdStrike noted.

These Nigerian rackets now dwarf other types of online criminal theft, amounting to at least $5.3 billion of losses between October 2013 and the end of 2016, said CrowdStrike and the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Centre (IC3).

“There’s a disproportionate amount of criminal gains they get from it. The lion’s share of ill-gotten, fraudulent money is around these business e-mail compromise attacks. It’s a huge problem for our customer set,” Adam Meyers, vice-president of intelligence at California-based CrowdStrike, told Reuters.

Nigeria has become one of the hubs of BEC. Nigerian online fraudsters, known as “Yahoo boys”, became notorious for trying to pass themselves off as people in financial need or Nigerian princes offering an outstanding return on an investment.

The Founder and Chairman of a Nigeria Information Technology Security Solution Organization, WiniGroup, Tim Akano  stated that, “cyber theft is a moving target that keep looking for loopholes to breach vulnerable organization of its valuables and confidential data”.

Speaking further, he said, “Data is money and when it is being compromised, money is lost.

Due to the vulnerable nature of most Nigerian organization’s data, Akano identified the value of money Nigeria lose yearly to cyber theft which has continue to have adverse effect on its economy.

“Central Bank of Nigeria and Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) has continue to announce billions of Nigeria currency that has being lost to cyber theft”, he said this is what we are trying to protect.

Furthermore, he advised organisations to be internally vigilant.

“The important number one role of any organisation in the protection of it’s data is internal vigilance”, said Akano.

He also encouraged organisations to continue to improve and keep working on securing and strengthening their systems against hackers.

The Chief Executive officer of Basscomm, Mr Demola Onanuga also explained that “cyber security is a fast growing environment in the Information Technology (IT) space. This is because; when one looks at the internet space, more people are getting online and more transactions are carried out in the cloud daily with lots of applications.

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