by • May 12, 2017 • CybersecurityComments (0)179

Objurgating the Crime Agency: A Cyber-stalking Primer for the EFCC

The use of electronic communications to persistently harass someone.

The most worrisome thing about the ineptitude of public institutions in Africa is the extent of official understatement and misstatement – the overt preference for minimising how many problems they are grappling with and how interconnected they are. Far more worrisome is the possibility that the leaders aren’t willing to confront the deeper challenges – building resilient, professional institutions and bringing the right talents on board.

In all of the years, I’ve spent in the industry, I’m yet to see just an individual cyberstalk an organisation. An organisation with a budget running into billions of Naira yearly, with departments like legal and technology running its operations, it’s just a foolhardy attempt at being doltish. The EFCC would have saved face by lying that the blogger was cyber-stalking Ibrahim Magu since we now live in an era of thin-skinned administrators. It’s a highly debatable issue that the almighty EFCC can be cyber-stalked.

A QUICK FREE FACT: Nigeria lost 127 Billion Naira (US$430 Million) to cybercrime in 2015.

EFCC purview covers financial and economic crimes and in my own scorecard, they haven’t done a lot. Recovering loots from politicians is laudable but that will never be the heart of the deal if well thought out steps isn’t implemented to curtail future occurrences. Let me stipulate: there’s a banal side as an organisation for them to throw their entire weight on imprisoning a blogger. They lose their bite and capacity to scare when put in a comparative or real-world context.

History keeps repeating itself in outline and rhyme. Sadly, vague memories of past mistakes sometimes aren’t sufficient to inoculate a people, an organisation or a country against repeating the mistakes of past generations. Despite highly cautioning precedents, the Nigerian financial services sector lost 127 Billion Naira (about 430 Million US Dollars) to cybercrime in 2015. Most financial institutions for the close of the fiscal year 2015 never reflected the loss on their statements. None even gave a press conference indicating a breach. Everything was/is shrouded in opacity.

Creating an ambuscade for citizens you are meant to “protect” is a direct consequence of a lack of tact. The EFCC has more than enough to do so that we can restore fiscal sanity to our economic system but as evident, it’s an organisation assaying to find its identity. There’s a fundamental lack of purpose. Attend any of their briefings and you will see how fluffy the intellectual capital is in that organisation. In 2016, with new attack vectors surfacing by the second, an organisation as important as the EFCC still talk about ‘’yahoo boys’’ they apprehended in a club at Victoria Island.

The average Nigerian, with other things to worry about, has little inkling of the gargantuan size of its financial sector and the insignificance of losing 3 Naira 25 Kobo every four banking days. Sometimes, account holders are fortunate to get notifications but on the most part, it’s done in stealth. For about six years now, Nigeria banking systems have been consistently attacked by Conficker worms. This virus attacks computers and creates botnets, a ring-like structure in a hierarchical layer which spreads faster to the differing hosts based on the administrative privileges inherent on each system.

Over 35% of the 127 Billion Naira lost last year was as a result of identity theft. Another 12% was lost as a result of social engineering. 9% was lost to using fake software, expired antiviruses/firewalls to secure the baselines. In the 90’s, straightforward, candid discussion was about as easy to find in popular publications as a five-leaf clover in a vacant lot full of weeds. These days, it has been lost on the altar of politicking. Organisations like the Consumer Protection Council has gone so quiet, an acute case of abdicating their responsibilities.

The figurative soup into which the EFCC is about falling into will be a broth of bile. In a sane country, what they would have been busy doing with organisations/institutions within their supervisory scope will be to look into issues of governance, of structure, of risk assessment, of policies and procedures, of recruitment, vetting, training, awareness, and remuneration, of quality of oversight. They have a lot on their plate but their penchant for brute force creates a brumous realism for them. With this present arrangement, Nigeria needs a reset and being hopeful things will change in Victor Asemota’s words is a clear case of indeterminate optimism.


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