The Rise of Cybercrime As a Service

Whenever the term ‘cybercrime as a service’ is mentioned, people look confused, not understanding the gravity of the negative impact caused by this service.

Cybercrime has for a very long time been a disturbing phenomenon that has cause a lot of disruption and damage in the cyberspace.

The reality is that the internet is taking over the world and almost everything is now done online. According to Juliet Ehimuan-Chiazor, Country Manager, Google Nigeria; “We now live online” and so whatever happens in real life happens online in the virtual world. This means that the same way crime exists in real life and people can pay for someone else to attack and destroy or rob another person is the same way people can pay hackers to get personal information stored online which will aid cyber attacks.

Chiding Iwe, Chief Information Security Officer of MainOne, told BusinessDay that “because almost everything is now done online, people pay their bills, plan their holidays, shop, conduct business transactions, keep in touch with friends, organise social events and do almost everything online now, attacks are bound to happen.

“As the internet grows bigger, vulnerability increases. The internet is commonly referred to as ‘public domain’ and the more corporate and private information we put on the public domain, the more vulnerable we become so as security is important in the real world and we have all sorts of security agents, so it should be as important in the virtual world,” he said.

Recently, we seem to have started hearing more about the increase of distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks all over the world and because there has been a rapid increase of internet use in Nigeria, we have not been left out of these attacks.

When you think of money on the internet, like in real life, the request for ransom is usually where the money is, so the banks are the prime targets DDoS attacks.

Not tackling this headlong means leaving organisations exposed to different forms of multi-vector cyber-attacks by hackers. It is also important to note that hackers are gaining more skills and competence and constantly launching attacks, seeking for ransom; this ransom culture is not just a Nigerian challenge, but a global one, which means we should expect to see more attacks from sophisticated hackers in Nigeria.  Not addressing this challenge for organisations means potential loss of revenue, reputation and these are key challenges that reputable companies need to guard against.

Reports have stated that DDoS attacks were not as prevalent in 2010 as they are now. One of the first reported DDoS attacks we noticed here in Nigeria was in Q4, 2014 and since then, there has been a sharp rise in distributed denial of service attacks. So the landscape is changing; we are beginning to see volumetric attacks; not just single vector attacks, but multiple attack vectors being launched on enterprise networks.

Today, Just like you can pay to get someone to wash your car, you can also pay for an attack on any company’s website. Again, the cyber world depicts whatever challenges are faced in the real world.

Speaking about what plans the government has to reduce cybercrime, especially on banks in Nigeria,  Onajite Regha, Executive Secretary and Chief Executive Officer of the Electronic Payment Providers Association of Nigeria (E-PPAN) said, “As part of efforts to fighting the battle and winning the war on cybercrime, E-PPAN has advocated for a Banking Risk Information Centre as a channel to fight fraud. Based on this, the association in 2013 signed a partnership agreement with South Africa Banking Risk Information Centre (SABRIC) to work with it in achieving this dream in Nigeria.

“The proposed Risk Information Centre for Nigeria will act in the interest of the entire industry in the following capacity to maintaining a comprehensive banking fraud database; it will serve as a nodal point for information analysis dissemination on bank fraud. The centre will provide relevant support to law enforcement agencies and drive industry awareness programs for the general public. It will also drive institutional local and international collaboration to fight fraud. The centre will support the banking industry in designing and implementing collaborative programs to fight fraud and contribute to making the banking sector safer while instilling customer confidence,” she added.

However, many ask if this is all it will take to secure the online space which growing at an exponential rate and is creating service platforms for cyber criminals.

 

Jumoke Akiyode Lawanson

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