The Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, on Sunday, April 12, 2020, alerted the general public that cyber-criminals are taking advantage of the current “COVID-19” pandemic to defraud citizens, steal sensitive information, or gain unauthorized access to computers or mobile devices using various techniques.
In a statement, CBN director, corporate communications, Isaac Okorafor, said the trend was not peculiar to Nigeria as there has been a rise in COVID-19-related cyber- criminal activities all over the world.
“Our priority is to ensure that Nigerian banking customers are aware of the ongoing trend to prevent them from falling victim to such cybercrimes,” he said in the statement titled: ‘Alert! Beware of COVID-19 Cyber-attacks, Fraud’.
He listed some of the cyber-criminal activities using the COVID-19 pandemic as Phishing campaigns where 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.
Okorafor said 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 organizations.
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.
“Cyber-criminals place calls to individuals claiming to be the 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,” he disclosed.