CBN issues advisory on how to avoid falling victim to COVID-19 cyber-attacks, fraud

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has issued a precautionary advice to Nigerians on how to stay safe and not fall victims to cyber-criminals taking advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic to heighten their criminal activities.

CBN in a statement on Tuesday said cyber-criminals are exploiting the current COVID-19 pandemic to defraud citizens, steal sensitive information, and gain unauthorized access to computers or mobile devices using various techniques.

Neusroom reported a few weeks ago that this rising cyber-security challenges is not  peculiar to Nigeria, as cyber experts across the world have advised workers to be at alert as they work remotely from home.

Cyber-criminals have devised several new techniques to up their game amid the coronavirus pandemic forcing many across the world to observe social distancing.

CBN advised bank customers and citizens to "apply caution in order to beat not just the COVID-19 virus but also the cyber-criminals seeking to take advantage of its spread for nefarious acts"

The apex bank outlined some of the following techniques being used by cyber-criminal:

Phishing campaigns: cyber-criminals send out emails claiming to be from health organizations such as the Nigerian Center for Disease Control (NCDC) or the World Health Organization (WHO). The email may contain a link which, if clicked, steals login credentials or other confidential information from the victim's computer or mobile device.

Relief Packages: Cyber-criminals have also been sending messages via social media or emails asking people to click on links to register in order to get their COVID-19 relief
packages from the Government or other organisations. They simply use this to get
confidential information from unwary victims. Relief package scams also come in the form
of phone calls asking people to provide their banking details to receive relief packages.

Impersonation: Cyber-criminals place calls to individuals claiming to be staff of their banks
and asking them to get mobile apps that would help them get through this pandemic period. Such mobile apps are however used to steal information from the victims' mobile phones among other things. Criminals have also produced COVID-19 maps, which steal
information in the background.

To ensure Nigerians do not fall victim to these cyber-crimes, CBN advised that the following precautions should be observe:

1. Beware of and verify emails or phone calls claiming to be from NCDC, WHO or Government, especially when such emails request your banking information or to click on a link.

2. Visit official websites of relevant organizations for desired information;
3. Avoid clicking on links or attachments in emails that claim to have more information
regarding the COVID-19 pandemic;
4. Avoid downloading mobile apps from untrusted sources
5. Obtain relief package or other information from trusted news media.



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