- Nigeria at Risk of Attack, Experts Warn
Cyber experts in the country on Sunday said that the Federal Government and sectoral regulators must become more alert and fortify security in the cyberspace after last Friday’s wave of cyberattacks that hit 200,000 targets in at least 150 countries.
They said the cyberattacks, which had been on before now, could spread to Nigeria and urged banks to get more sophisticated.
The Director-General, Delta State Innovation Hub, Chris Uwaje, said the attackers “are part of the invisible elements” attacking economies, adding, “There are some from Syria, Kenya and Iran that are launching attack on Nigeria’s cyberspace.”
He said Nigeria must build sophisticated software capability with human resource and called for the introduction of software army in the country and national software legislation that must be backed by law.
“In the United States, you can’t develop software without the involvement of the Federal Bureau of Intelligence and you can’t sell without being certified. There must be a cohesive Office of the Information Technology-General of the Federation so that we can monitor everything the IT and cybersecurity in Nigeria.
“The issue is critically serious and Nigeria must act fast by enthroning the National Software Board, the Establishment of National IT Bill and the Enactment of Software Deployment Act and an institutional framework to be controlled and managed by the Office of the Information Technology General of the Federation. It must be noted that most government servers are also under serious threats of hacking,” Uwaje stated.
The cyber experts warned that going by the porous nature of Nigeria’s cyberspace, voluntary or involuntary insider compromise and poor Information Technology standards, the country’s financial system might be headed for a face-off with North Korea’s cyber criminals.
According to them, while banks have not come out to lament any loss or attack, the success of the attacks on financial institutions has always been more of insider collusion.
Our correspondent gathered that there were conjectures that the North Korean hackers were aimed at mobilising funds for the cash-strapped country to develop its North nuclear programme.
A report has quoted the Acting Director, Corporate Communications, Central Bank of Nigeria, Isaac Okorafor, as saying, “We have not had anything like that in Nigeria and I am not aware of such attacks on any Nigerian bank.”
However, the Director of Banking and Payments System, CBN, as well as the Chairman, Nigeria Electronic Fraud Forum, ‘Dipo Fatokun, said that hacking and cyberattack “are ongoing challenges across the world against banks.”
Admitting that the threats were real, he said that the regulator was on top of the situation with various policies and standards to ward off the attempts, saying there is no cause for fear.
He, however, said, “We have the IT standards for banks and we are monitoring compliance. But we continue to reiterate the need for data protection. It has only been the major route for cyber attack and hacking.”
The President of the Information Systems Audit and Control Association Nigeria, Tope Aladenusi, said no bank had confirmed any attack, adding that it was only a report.
Aladenusi said there was no evidence to suggest how it was done, but there were claims that the Internet Protocol address system of the attack was from North Korea.
He said the supposed malware called Lazarus was used to access people’s and organisations’ systems, saying, “The malware tries to compromise some vulnerable systems, whether in banks or organisations, and subsequently attacks other systems.”
Aladenusi, who also heads the cybersecurity arm of Delloitte Nigeria, advised that organisations must make it difficult for hackers to come near their systems by putting up measures including security tools and governance.
OPay Urges Customers to Complete BVN, NIN Verification Following CBN Directive
OPay, a prominent financial services firm, has called upon its customers to finalize the verification of their accounts by linking their Bank Verification Numbers (BVN) or National Identity Numbers (NIN) in accordance with the recent directive from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
The CBN, in a circular dated December 1, mandated all deposit money banks to enforce a ‘Post no Debit’ restriction on accounts lacking BVN or NIN.
Accounts without BVN would be placed under a ‘Post No Debit or Credit’ status from March 1, as outlined in the circular jointly signed by Chibuzo Efobi and Haruna Mustapha, Directors at the Payments System Management Department and Financial Policy and Regulation Department, respectively.
OPay affirmed the CBN’s directive and emphasized the necessity for account holders to complete the verification process.
Dauda Gotring, the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of OPay, emphasized the importance of a secure and seamless experience for customers.
He encouraged users to comply with the verification process, reassuring them of the company’s commitment to a smooth process and 24/7 customer support.
OPay provided multiple channels for customer assistance, including in-app self-service, WhatsApp, phone lines, and social media platforms.
The company’s commitment to inclusivity and technological advancement underscores its mission to enhance financial services accessibility across Nigeria.
MTN Group Ltd. Reports 90% Plunge in Profit Amid Nigeria’s Currency Woes
MTN Group Ltd., Africa’s largest wireless service provider, has announced a 90% decline in its full-year profit following the plunge in Nigerian Naira.
The company revealed that its earnings per share for the year ending December fell to a range of 1.07 rand to 3.21 rand (approximately 6 to 17 US cents), a significant drop from 10.71 rand recorded in 2022.
The Nigerian naira, which experienced a 49% depreciation in 2023 and an additional 44% decline this year, has emerged as a significant factor impacting MTN’s financial performance.
As one of the world’s worst-performing currencies against the dollar, the naira’s instability has created a volatile economic environment, prompting concerns among international businesses operating in Nigeria.
The currency crisis, stemming from a shortage of dollars and exacerbated by policy missteps and corruption, has led to an exodus of multinational corporations seeking to repatriate earnings from Africa’s largest economy.
Nigeria, with its burgeoning young population and growing tech sector, has struggled to address economic dysfunction despite its vast natural resources.
MTN Group Ltd., which boasts approximately 77 million customers in Nigeria, historically derives a substantial portion of its earnings from the country.
However, the company’s shares plummeted by as much as 7.2% in early trading following the profit announcement, reflecting investor concerns over the challenging operating environment.
Despite the bleak financial report, MTN highlighted positive metrics such as a 45% increase in data traffic and a 49% surge in mobile money transaction volumes.
However, the company refrained from providing guidance on its earnings margins, further adding to uncertainties surrounding its future financial performance.
Analysts underscored the importance of regulatory stability and economic reforms in Nigeria to restore investor confidence and mitigate the impact of currency fluctuations on companies like MTN.
As businesses navigate the economic landscape, the resilience of Nigeria’s currency and regulatory framework remains a critical concern for investors and industry stakeholders alike.
Leatherback Set for International Growth as EFCC Drops all Fraud and Misconduct Allegations
Nigeria’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has dropped all allegations of fraud and misconduct against Leatherback, a leading financial services technology company, and the company’s CEO, Toyeeb Ibrahim Ibitade.
In November 2023, EFCC announced that it had been made aware of the possibility of fraudulent activities on the Leatherback platform, leading to an investigation into the company’s operations to establish the facts. Cooperating fully with EFCC and working transparently with the organisation’s officials to provide a forensic view of its operations, Leatherback was able to unequivocally prove its innocence, leading the EFCC to drop all allegations and take down all previous communications on its website and social media platforms (Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter) around the matter.
Leatherback supported the EFCC investigation by making over 5,000 printed documents available to officials to enable as much clarity as possible. Leatherback also filed Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) in the UK and Nigeria.
According to Toyeeb Ibrahim Ibitade, CEO of Leatherback, “I am relieved to see the end of this arduous episode, but I am even more delighted to see that myself and Leatherback, as an organisation, have been completely cleared of all wrongdoing. With this episode firmly behind us, we are poised to accelerate our mission to provide a single access point that empowers individuals and businesses to be truly global, delivering best-in-class financial, payment, and commerce solutions that remove barriers to global growth and mobility for all citizens of the world.”
Headquartered in London, Leatherback is regulated in the United Kingdom, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Canada, India, Pakistan, Nepal, and Sri Lanka, enabling the platform to serve customers across a wide range of markets effectively. Tens of thousands of individuals and businesses already use the platform to support business and lifestyle opportunities every day. Leatherback is also FCA Authorised, PCI DSS Compliant, and ISO Certified.
Leatherback offers financial services to businesses and individuals in multiple countries with no restrictions. Users can access up to 15 currencies from 21 countries, including NGN, GBP, INR, EUR, USD, and many other currencies. Users can also send and collect money locally and internationally, with invoicing, analytics, and permissions features available for businesses.
For more information, please visit: http://www.leatherback.co
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