January 29, 2020 /04:42 PM / By FDC Ltd / Header
Image Credit: Message Magazine
about 3.9 billion users, the internet has become one of the greatest
technological developments. While widely accepted for its ease and efficiency,
it is also embedded with a multitude of vulnerabilities, which pose significant
security threats to users and has led to the emergence of cybercrime.
which includes any crime committed with the aid of a computer and network (e.g.
phishing, bank verification number scams, fraudulent emails, hacking, cyber
harassment, spamming, ATM spoofing, social media hi-jacking etcetera), exploits
vulnerabilities of both electronic devices and their users. In Nigeria, a
number of key factors – such as a high rate of unemployment, the quest for
wealth, a lack of strong cybercrime laws, and incompetent security on personal devices amongst others – have coalesced to
make cybercrime a significant problem for the country.The estimated annual
financial loss in Nigeria due to cybercrime was N250 billion
($649 million) in 2017 and N288 billion ($800 million) in 2018.
destroys the reputation of a country, making the business environment difficult
for start-ups and small and medium-sized enterprises, while discouraging
investment in the economy by foreign companies. For individuals, cybercrime
results in the loss of financial resources, intellectual property or personal
confidential information, and the damages can be extreme, often targeting
senior citizens and people who are vulnerable. In 2018, in the US, roughly
62,000 people age 60 or older reported losses totaling over $649 million.
only based on crimes reported. McAfee estimates that 95% of cybercrimes go
unreported. With Nigeria venturing into a cashless society, the threat of
cybercrime becomes all the more relevant. There needs to be integrated efforts
between individuals, businesses, the Nigerian government and the international
community. Reforms such as increasing awareness on the mode of operations of
cyber criminals, improved personal security, establishment of anti-scam centers
etc are vital in minimizing cybercrimes. In an effort to combat cybercrimes in
Nigeria, the Central Bank of Nigeria introduced a risk-based cyber security
framework and guidelines for deposit money banks and payment service providers.
This framework lays out proactive steps to secure critical information assets
including customer information that is accessible via the internet.
are many initiatives employed by different countries to combat cybercrimes,
which Nigeria can emulate. One example is the Anti-Scam Centre in Singapore.
Set up by the police in collaboration with the three major banks, the Anti-Scam
Centre disrupts the operations of scammers by impeding fund transfers. In two
months, the Anti-Scam Centre received 1,047 cases in which victims had lost a total
of $2.4 million ($1.8 million). The centre managed to freeze 815 bank accounts
and recovered 35% of the amount lost, or about S$840,000 ($623,000) – which is
significantly higher than the average recovery rates for these types of scams.
Similarly, Canada has an Anti-Fraud Centre which is the central agency in
Canada that collects information and criminal intelligence on cybercrimes.
2018, the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre received 59,009 fraud reports from victims
and businesses, with losses reported totaling $97,654,160.35. However, the
centre estimates that less than 5% of fraud victims file a report, which poses
a challenge in its ability to provide current information on ways to prevent
similar attacks. The Dubai Financial Services Authority initiated a cyber
threat intelligence platform in partnership with the Dubai Electronic Security
Centre, the National Computer Emergency Response Team and the Computer Incident
Response Centre (based in Luxembourg). The platform is scheduled to go live in
January 2020. The platform will harbor an ecosystem that encourages information
exchange and offers enhanced cyber threat intelligence solutions. Thus, all
participants across industries must partake in an open dialogue about cyber
security. This is in a bid to reduce the information asymmetry in the economy.
individuals, simple security tips such as having an updated and recognized
anti-virus software, avoiding pop-ups requiring personal information, using
strong passwords, and ignoring emails or calls requiring financial details to
help unblock cards or accounts etc, will go a long way in preventing security
breaches.17 Nigeria is experiencing a surge in cybercrimes supported by the
prevailing economic conditions. The high rate of unemployment and the quest for
quick wealth are the two major factors which drive individuals towards
cybercrime. This threat poses a great risk, which can only be eliminated
through the strict enforcement of cybercrime laws, provision of lucrative
opportunities in the economy, information sharing etc. However, in the medium
to long term, increasing awareness could help mitigate the cyber threats, if
action is taken.
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