A cyber security group, Cyber Security Experts Association of Nigeria (CSEAN), has estimated that Nigeria loses about N127 billion to cybercrimes yearly.
It said several cases of cyber crime activities in the country, many of which have resulted in financial losses by individuals and organisations, had been widely unreported.
The CSEAN said the country might face even greater odds in cybersecurity threats this year.
It, however, identified five cyber crimes that will dominate Nigeria this year based on the current trends as CEO e-mail scam, ransomware, online-assisted kidnapping, cyber bullying and online impersonation.
CSEAN President, Remi Afon, who said that the year 2017 would witness more ransomware than ever seen before in Nigeria, stated that with the rise of ransomware-as-a-service, cyber criminals could now purchase a user-friendly kit they could deploy with little or no cyber know-how from the dark web.
He described ransomware as a type of malware that infects a machine when a user clicks on a seemingly legitimate link and unknowingly downloads a malicious file. The virus will then encrypt the user’s files, share drives and servers, leaving them inaccessible unless the victim pays for the decryption key usually in cryptocurrency.
He said: “That kidnapping is on the rise in Nigeria is no news. What many people don’t know is that kidnappers are being assisted by their victims’ social media online activities and geolocation data on their smartphones. Geolocation data is information that can be used to identify an electronic device’s physical location.”
According to him, using smartphones’ built-in Global Positioning System (GPS) functionality allows location-based services (or geo-location) to locate and publish information about smartphone owners’ whereabouts.
He also identified online impersonation, which he categorised into two, as another top cyber crime to watch out for in 2017. He said while the first category impersonates politicians and religious leaders on social media by creating fake profiles with the aim of scamming their victims, the second usually creates fake profiles with attractive fake pictures so they can engage in what is called ‘romance scam’.
Afon stressed that cyber criminals were mainly interested in targeting foreigners, claiming they were in love with them and establishing a love relation to be able to swindle them.