About two weeks after Anonymous, a network of global hacktivists launched an aggressive campaign in Nigeria, commercial banks have begun panic update of their server.
The Guardian reports that the banks have started a panic system overhaul to protect sensitive data, including customers’ information.
Amidst the server upgrade frenzy, experts have warned that, except inclusive measures are adopted, the possibility of Nigeria suffering a worse cyber attack is imminent.
Minister of State for Science and Technology, Mohammed Abdullahi, confirmed the recent threat, saying there were coordinated attacks on sensitive government databases.
Abdullahi’s counterpart at the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Pantami, had also acknowledged that some websites of some government agencies were compromised.
He said: ‘‘On my instruction, the NITDA and NCC worked almost round the clock last week to rectify the situation and ensure no vital data was compromised. I am happy the websites are back and running now.”
Pantami disclosed that the ministry and its agencies, in collaboration with the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA), were fortifying the nation’s IT security wall.
Reporters At Large recalls that reported that the recent alleged cyber attack on the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and other public institutions caused apprehension in the financial service industry with Information Technology (IT) personnel and top executives working to upscale the firewall of the servers.
The Guardian also reports that the threat by Anonymous, which launched a campaign in solidarity with #EndSARS protesters about two weeks ago, had exposed banks’ vulnerability to cyber-attack. It was also learnt that many of the banks were deploying new cutting-edge security software to protect their servers.
A source privy to the ongoing efforts to minimise cyber risks said: “Our IT guys spent last weekend (October 24/25) upgrading the system.”
He added that the unit worked with hired external experts “under strict instruction from the managing director” who warned repeatedly that cybersecurity must not be compromised.
Asked about the financial cost of the system upgrade, the source said, even the IT personnel were “not privy to the amount spent” and that only top executives would know. Considering the scope of work carried out, coupled with the profiles of the experts hired. The source added that the budget would certainly run into hundreds of millions.
Many banks have, in the past two weeks, sent messages informing depositors that they were halting online operations to enable them effect system upgrade.
A day after the CBN was reportedly attacked, a second-generation bank grounded its online platforms for 48 hours for a “system upgrade.”
Even after the 48 hours elapsed, it sent another message apologising for the “inconvenience” it caused its customers while it was yet to resume online operation.
On Wednesday, the same operator sent an email notifying customers that transaction alerts would “be delayed or not received at all” in the meantime.