STAYING SAFE ONLINE
Fireworks up in the dark skies were the order of the day on January 1, 2020, when the hour and minute hands of the clock stood gallantly on ‘12’, signifying the beginning of a new year. Nations of the earth world over were starting a remarkable year, ready to implement their audacious plans in the first year of a new decade. What no-one envisaged, however, is the present realities we all now face: The COVID-19 Pandemic.
In the wake of March 2020, Nigeria as a nation took a decisive action to curb the scourge of the pandemic, as the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria; H.E Muhammadu Buhari announced on March 26, 2020, a lock-down in the most hit cities. These cities were the Federal Capital Territory, Lagos State and its neighbouring State; Ogun effective 11:00 pm of March 2020. This was a drastic move, required for a more dire situation, which followed the escalating rate of infection after the index case was recorded February 25, 2020.
In line with robust business continuity plans available in most formal and tech sectors, it became imperative for employees in critical roles to work from home, an action which tracts several persons to be on the internet, conducting skeletal operational tasks and perhaps holding strategic meetings. Apart from this category of people, are a large number of individuals who in a bid to socialize and make the best out of the situation spend a considerable amount of time on their mobile devises using various social media platforms to interact with friends and families.
Here is the meat of this discourse; Cyber-criminals and how to stay safe online.
Where the world leaders and various International and local agencies are fighting this scourge through flattening the curve, diverse group of malicious individuals and syndicates are devising various means to attract unsuspecting and vulnerable internet users. The way they operate is through their various thought-out plans to defraud users through multiple means, as highlighted below.
- Impersonation: unsuspecting individuals are called by these con-artists who pretend to be a staff of the individual’s Bank, requesting for personal information like PAN, PIN, CVV and BVN. They do this with the guise of selling the Bank’s online Banking platforms proposing it will enable the customer access funds, during the lock-down.
- Phishing: The cybercriminals send e-mails masquerading to be from reliable organizations in the front line of the pandemic, like World Health Organization (WHO), the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) with a link which when clicked, captures log-in credentials, and sometimes information on the device. Cybercriminals can also send these e-mails as a Bank/Financial Institution using same modus operandi, with links and attachments.
- Lock-down relief package: The cybercriminals send e-mails and SMS, claiming to be agencies of the government tasked with the distribution of relief materials requesting for beneficiaries to register with sensitive information, which is used to defraud unsuspecting individuals.
As a user of the internet, you are to observe all precautionary measures to guard against vital information stolen by these cyber-criminals. Find below some preventive measures;
- Avoid divulging personal information to any individual over the phone or via e-mails.
- Avoid downloading mobile apps from untrusted sources.
- Beware of e-mails and phone calls from acclaimed Government agencies like WHO and NCDC.
- Avoid clicking links sent through social media platforms.
- Avoid clicking links on e-mail, or appended attachments that require the reader to click for more information.
While we make conscientious efforts against falling prey to cyber-criminals, efforts should also be put in place to remain safe, obey the government’s directive, as we all work towards flattening the curve.
#AbbeyCares #StaySafe #StayHome