Banks Tighten Security to Prevent Hackers


* Multichoice denies alleged hacking of its website

Emma Okonji

As part of efforts to prevent the Anonymous, a group of international ‘hacktivists’, from getting access into their system, commercial banks in Nigeria have said they have adopted security measures to ensure safety of customers’ deposits as well as to prevent systemic risk.

THISDAY gathered that most of the IT and risk management staff at most banks worked throughout the weekend to ensure that the group of hackers does not have access to their system.

The Anonymous has been carrying out the nefarious act in support of the ongoing protest in the country.

The group had last Thursday issued a 72-hour notice to the federal government to address all issues related to police brutality in the country; bring to justice every police officer involved in killing of innocent citizens, and had threatened to cause more harm if the government failed to respond.

In a related development, Multichoice, owners of DStv and Gotv, has refuted claims making the rounds that its website was hacked at the weekend by the Anonymous.

A source at the Multichoice Nigeria told THISDAY that there had been systems upgrade on the company’s network since weekend, which affected customers’ transactions on the website.

The source, however, said customers have been informed since last Thursday on the issue. Part of the message sent across to customers of DStv included: ‘Our services are currently offline. We are upgrading our systems from October 17 11p.m. to October 19 4p.m. All self-service platforms are not available during this time’.

Reacting to the alleged hacking of websites, the President of the Institute of Software Practitioners of Nigeria (ISPON), Mr. Chinenye Mba-Uzoukwu, who distant the #EndSARS protesters from the alleged hacking, said the youths were only registering their displeasure against police brutality on Nigerian citizens, and would not involve themselves in hacking of government websites.

“The #EndSARS protesters are not hackers, they are only carrying out legal demonstrations that are based on facts in line with democracy. It is ridiculous for police to stop and harass software developers who return home late from work or who dressed in a style that is not acceptable to the police. The idea of searching the laptops of software developers in the streets and in their homes as well as intimidating them by policemen is unacceptable and must be stopped,” Mba-Uzoukwu said.

He said although any government website could be hacked, the government and organisations should do well to protect their websites with high security standards.

A cyber security lawyer and Alternate Legal Adviser to Information Security Society of Nigeria (ISSAN), a cyber-security advocacy group, Mr. Nwabueze Obasi, who also condemned the alleged hacking of websites, however, said some unscrupulous persons could hide under the disguise of #EndSARS protest to hack websites.

According to Obasi, the 2015 Cybercrime Law of Nigeria forbids anyone to have unauthorised access to other person or organisation’s website, which he said, remained a punishable offence.