- Fraudsters Target 63.7m Banks Accounts, E-payment Channels
Fraudsters have continued to get unauthorised access to bank accounts and other electronic payments platforms.
Statistics from the Nigeria Inter Bank Settlement Scheme (NIBSS) indicate there are 93 million bank accounts in the country with 63.7 million of them being active. As at September 2016, operators of current accounts in the country stood at 25.4 million, with savings account having 65.4 million holders while there were 2.48 million other accounts users in the country.
The Guardian learnt that the introduction of the Bank Verification Number (BVN) by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in collaboration with the banks in 2015 showed that there are about 28 million unique identity accounts in the country.
With cybercriminals on the prowl, The Guardian checks showed that customers of some top commercial banks in the country are currently being bombarded with suspicious phishing mails targeted at their daily Internet banking transactions.
It was learnt through a cyber security expert, who preferred anonymity, that some of these attackers (fraudsters) are based in the United States, United Kingdom, UAE, Russia and South Africa among others, trying to break into accounts in Nigeria because of the open Internet gateway.
A 2014 NIBSS report showed that there were 1, 461 cases of fraud in 2013 involving N7.7 billion-attempted value, but that about N6.2 billion was actually lost to e-fraud.
The fraud is projected to come through several scam mails, technically called phishing, which are being received on a daily basis by customers of some of the banks. Phishing emails try to trick the user into revealing some personal information. The emails look like they are from a legitimate source, such as a bank, Google or Yahoo, but they’re not. They attempt to lure unsuspecting bank customers by asking them to open a link to either update their online banking profile or change their Personal Identification Numbers (PINs).
The President of Cyber Security Experts Association of Nigeria (CSEAN), Remi Afon, who revealed that 89 per cent of breaches had a financial or espionage motive, noted that phishing accounted for 83 per cent of cybercrimes. According to him, it usually takes 146 days before a successful breach is detected, while 84 per cent of breaches are against the application layer.
Some of the phishing emails, compiled by The Guardian, which were purportedly sent by a bank, through an online medium reads: “Dear customer, we got a request to reset your password and if you did not make this request, kindly follow the below link (provided in the email) to cancel the password request on your online account.” Also, the customers receiving the scam emails are told: “If you made this request, kindly follow the below link to proceed with the password request on your online account.”
Another email purportedly sent by the bank reads: “Dear customer, this is a confirmation that the password for your online account has just been changed. If you didn’t request or make this password change, kindly follow the secured link https://ibank…bankplc.com/RetailBank/ for security purpose.
“If you made this password change kindly follow this link to review your account information https://ibank…bankplc.com/RetailBank/.”
In an email from another bank’s online platform, customers were told that a beneficiary had been added to their online account and that they should click a link if they had not authorised such a beneficiary.
The scammers will thus provide a Universal Resource Locator (URL) link, which the unsuspecting customers are implored to click to go and ‘de-activate the beneficiary.’
A similar phishing email will ask bank customers to update their online banking profiles. Another scam message sent to a customer via a mobile phone, reads: “Dear customer, due to system upgrade and BVN link your ATM card has been deactivated. To activate, call customer care line on 0810…”
A senior official of a bank, who preferred anonymity, told The Guardian that the bank was not the one sending such emails, but online scammers, with the intent to defraud their unsuspecting targets.
She said the bank, like the other ones, would not advise the customers to change their PIN online or reveal some vital information in the cloud.
The Google West Africa’s Communications and Public Affairs Manager, Taiwo Kola-Ogunlade, in an interview with The Guardian, said phishing emails tried to trick people into revealing personal information.
Ogunlade said through phishing, the type of information targeted from customers include the demographics and those that are personally identifiable (those that can be used to identify, contact, or locate a person or can be used with other sources to uniquely identify a single individual, including name, address, phone number, social security, birthday, birthplace, credit card information, account numbers).Others relate to behaviour (purchasing habits, websites visited, credit card transactions).
South Africa’s iGas, PetroSA and Strategic Fuel Fund Merge to Create South African National Petroleum Company
The South African Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE) has announced the merger of Central Energy Fund (CEF) subsidiaries iGas, PetroSA and the Strategic Fuel Fund (SFF).
The merger will be effective from 1 April 2021 and the new company will be called the South African National Petroleum Company.
The merger, driven by the pursuit of implementing a new company that has a streamlined operating model via the development of a shared services system and a common information platform, comes a few months after cabinet approval and the confirmation that PetroSA had incurred losses of R20 billion since 2014.
Additional factors which prompted the move included the determination to strengthen PetroSA which had not had a permanent CEO in five years prior to the appointment of CEO Ishmael Poolo last and, had become majorly ungainful since its failure to secure gas for the gas-to-liquids refinery project in Mossel Bay.
While the merger deadline has been set, the portfolio committee expressed reservations to the department’s likelihood of meeting the deadline, considering the existing legislative regime, pending issues raised in the SFF and PetroSA forensic reports, as well as PetroSA’s current insolvency and liquidity challenges, the official press statement on the briefing revealed.
“South Africa’s energy sector is entering a new dawn,” said NJ Ayuk, Executive Chairman of the African Energy Chamber. “With gas discoveries off the coast and the announcement of the REIPPP programme bid window 5 and 6 on the horizon, now is the most opportune time for the merger of the CEF subsidiaries. Of course, it is not an easy task and delays may be anticipated but, this move signals a real change towards a meaningful strategy that will not only be beneficial to the DMRE but to potential investors and local development as well.”
The African Energy Chamber welcomes this move and acknowledges that this is yet another step supporting the country’s determination to restarting the engines of sustainable growth and the transformation of energy policy and infrastructure.
Crude Oil Hits $71.34 After Saudi Largest Oil Facilities Were Attacked
Brent Crude Oil Rises to $71.34 Following Missile Attack on Saudi Largest Oil Facilities
Brent crude, against which Nigerian oil is priced, jumped to $71.34 a barrel on Monday during the Asian trading session following a report that Saudi Arabia’s largest oil facilities were attacked by missiles and drones fired on Sunday by Houthi military in Yemen.
On Monday, the Saudi energy ministry said one of the world’s largest offshore oil loading facilities at Ras Tanura was attacked and a ballistic missile targeted Saudi Aramco facilities.
“One of the petroleum tank areas at the Ras Tanura Port in the Eastern Region, one of the largest oil ports in the world, was attacked this morning by a drone, coming from the sea,” the ministry said in a statement released by the official Saudi Press Agency.
It also stated that shrapnel from a ballistic missile dropped near Aramco’s residential compound in Eastern Dhahran.
“Such acts of sabotage do not only target the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, but also the security and stability of energy supplies to the world, and therefore, the global economy,” a ministry spokesman said in a statement on state media.
Oil price surged because the market interpreted the occurrence as supply sabotage given Saudi is the largest OPEC producer. A decline in supply is positive for the oil industry.
However, Brent crude oil pulled back to $69.49 per barrel at 12:34 pm Nigerian time because of the $1.9 trillion stimulus packed passed in the U.S.
Market experts are projecting that the stimulus will boost the United States economy and support U.S crude oil producers in the near-term, this they expect to boost crude oil production from share and disrupt OPEC strategy.
A Loud Blast Heard in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia’s Largest Crude Oil Production Site
Loud Blast Heard in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia’s Largest Crude Oil Production Site
Two residents from the eastern city of Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, on Sunday said they heard a loud blast, but they are yet to know the cause, according to a Reuters report.
Saudi’s Eastern province is home to the kingdom’s largest crude oil production and export facilities of Saudi Aramco.
A blast in any of the facilities in that region could hurt global oil supplies and bolster oil prices above $70 per barrel in the first half of the year.
One of the residents said the explosion took place around 8:30 pm Saudi time while the other resident claimed the time was around 8:00 pm.
However, Saudi authorities are yet to confirm or respond to the story.
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