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Experts define Cybercrime, explains why Nigeria is ranked among worst cybercriminals

Founding fathers of Digital Encode Limited, a company that specialses in the design, management and security of business-critical networks, telecommunications environments and other information technology (IT) infrastructure have given fresh insights on cybercrime and how it affects Nigeria.

The two founding associates, Mr. Obadare Peter Adewale and Mr. Oluseyi Akindeinde, currently occupy the position of chief operating officer and chief technical officers respectively.

In a joint interview, Adewale defined cybercrime as “a computer-related crime and has to do with malicious persons unlawfully penetrating another person’s network”.

He said “In cybercrime, computer is used to carry out nefarious activities, so it is the combination of using a computer and the internet to hack into an individual system, corporate system or state’s system”.

According to him, “These days, we talk about digital colonies because of internet penetration all over the world, everybody is connected and because everybody is connected, the world has now become a global village, which is why cybercrime is the new trend of crime now”.

Explaining why Nigeria is ranked among nations with worst cybercrime perpetrators, the chief technical officer, Mr. Akindeinde averred that “A lot of factors come into play when you look at cybercrime. First of all, it is a new medium of internet and when you have a nation with population around 180 million with percentage of youth very high”.

“When you don’t engage these young people, they will try to engage themselves because life is about survival. Not that they don’t have cybercriminals in other nations, but in the developed countries, hacking is the demonstration of skills as most times hacking is not done to get money. “This happens to places like Eastern Europe, North America but in Nigeria, you discover that before cybercrime, these young people used to rob with knives and gun but now that financial institutions have opened channels, of course they will try to steal using the channel.

Continuing, Akindeinde  added that “Cybercrime started mainly as scam, for instance, yahoo-yahoo fraud and all that, it didn’t have to do with security or hacking, it was primarily scamming people and that is why Nigeria is rife with that kind of thing because there are young people who absolutely have no jobs but have to exist and survive. The barrier to entry in Nigeria is very low because, initially, when some institutions started getting online, they were primarily concerned with usage and people. Banks at that time bought the cheapest ATMs that were easily hacked or cloned because they were thinking that no adoption would happen. When you bring in something cheap with little security, you will have people desiring to explore. So, those boys saw it as an opportunity as they saw technology was feeble.

“This is why when cyber security is talked about, Nigeria is among such countries but a lot is changing because there is sensitization, awareness, consumer protection as the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and Nigeria Communication Commission (NCC) have tried in those areas but there are still some falling prey to this crime.

However, on the threats of cybercrime to Nigeria, the chief operating officer, Adewale argued that “Nigeria has become part of the global village and, being a global village, everyone is connected to the internet and the internet is public”.

“Because the internet is made public, the threats are in the wild. Whether you like it or not, the internet does not recognize your nationality because it is a public space so the threats are enormous. The threats landscape has actually evolved over time with even the new forecasted research that by 2022, cybercrime loss will be in the tune of $6 million. This is to say that the cyber market is very big and the reality is the cyber criminals follow where the money is, unlike before where you think about malware viruses, now we are having sophisticated attacks like ransomware which is in the form of digital kidnapping in which if you do not have the right security measures within your system, your system is totally hijacked.

“MERSK was attacked by ransomeware last year and they lost $280 million just because of a ransomeware attack and it is not just about ransomeware, there are others out there. I look at it from the point of structured and unstructured attack: unstructured attack occurs when the bad guys are in the wild and will attack if the security is weak, whereas structured attack occurs when these attackers plan ahead to attack a system or organisation.