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Panic as Bankers, Fraudsters Empty Customers’ Accounts

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Disturbing revelations at the weekend suggested that a worrying fraud scheme-the theft customers’ ID data by employees of financial institutions is on the rise.

Investigations showed that insiders in financial institutions in Nigeria are increasingly taking advantage of highly confidential information of customers and trading same to outsiders for illegal profits.

Experts said that the fraud ring involve longtime employees and top performers who abuse their positions of trust and exploit their access to multiple areas and systems of the banks’ systems.

With the help of people on the inside, the fraud ring are now able to recruit people to assume stolen identities and withdraw funds because they knew the banks affected did not have sufficient technology and security to safeguard the customers’ information or alert the institutions when it was stolen.

In another scheme, bank customers are promised shares of mouthwatering but fake riches in return for details of their bank accounts which are subsequently emptied.

There is also phishing mails that are, but not limited to Advance fee fraud, purchase frauds, counterfeit postal money orders, online automotive fraud, counterfeit cashier’s check scam, cash the check system, PayPal Fraud, business opportunity or “Work-at-Home” schemes, money transfer fraud, dating fraud, and charity fraud and boisterous employment promises.

Mr. Tunde Ogunsakin, Commissioner of Police in charge of the Force Special Fraud Unit, Ikoyi Lagos, said that from January this year, the unit investigated about 600 cases of fraud in financial institutions.

In all the cases, the frauds were committed in connivance with bank staff.

This came as the US State Department’s ‘Money Laundering Report 2013’ dubbed Nigeria as ‘a significant center for criminal financial activity.’

Matt Baechtle, leading a team of United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the department of homeland security, to collaborate with SFU for the purpose of fine-tuning measures on how to tackle the threat posed by cyber-attackers, said that internet fraudsters and corrupt officials and business people, as well as criminal and terrorist organisations are allegedly taking advantage of the country’s location, porous borders, weak laws and lack of enforcement to perpetrate cyber-crime.

The introduction of the Money Laundering Act in February represents some of the milestones recorded by Nigeria in her chase to combat cyber-threat; however, more needed to be done to delist the country from being counted among the world’s 59 most vulnerable cyber prone countries.

Ogunsakin also identified problems and challenges in handling bank frauds to include lack of well equipped forensic laboratories, lack of data base of criminals, inadequate legislation, cost of investigation, inadequate working tools, inadequate collaboration with private sector and inadequate international collaborative framework.

Speaking during International Data Corporation (IDC) road-show 2013 held in Lagos recently, Andy Norton, Threat Intelligence Architect, FireEye, noted that today’s cybercriminals, aided by their targets’ porous defenses and unwitting end users are able to deliver advanced malware that exploits systems and enables a range of malicious activities.

According to him, much of this advanced malware is being delivered via emails with malicious file attachments, adding that presently the criminals are distributing files, specifically those that are effectively bypassing traditional security defenses such as firewalls, next-generation firewalls, intrusion prevention systems (IPS), anti-virus (AV), and secure gateways.

He quoted Gartner’s earlier warning that “Organizations face an evolving threat scenario that they are ill-prepared to deal with….threats that have bypassed their traditional security protection techniques and reside undetected on their systems.”

Study carried by the Organisation also showed that 40% of all IT executives expect a major cybersecurity incident, while there are 9,000+ malicious websites identified per day.

Also every second 14 adults become victims of cyber crime and 95 new vulnerabilities are discovered per week.

“99% of breaches led to compromise within “days” or less with 85% leading to data exfiltration in the same time and 85% of breaches took “weeks” or more to discover. And some of the attacked are spurred by Download Stages,” he said.

Analysts have suggested that some IPS/IDS/NGFW vendors are no better at handling evasions today than they were when they released their original products, just as widening gap between hacker capabilities and security defenses put pressure on security organizations who struggle to keep up with the changing nature, complexity, and scale of attacks.

On her part, Lise Hagen, research manager, Software & IT Services, Africa, suggested that risk should become the main agenda to justify IT Security investments.

The essential guides or wining strategy should involve implementation of user awareness & education, spend smarter, initiate a metric-based approach, create a risk portfolio and plan, update, enforce, security policies.

 


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Stanbic IBTC Bank Disowns Lagos ATM Fraudster

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Stanbic IBTC Bank PLC has disowned Tope Olajide, 22-year-old fraudster arraigned for theft of customers deposits.

Stanbic IBTC Bank Disowns Lagos ATM Fraudster

The Bank said this in a statement on Wednesday.

The statement said: “The attention of the management of Stanbic IBTC Bank PLC has been drawn to news currently circulating in the media, about the alleged arraignment of staff of the Bank on charges bordering on the theft of customers deposits.

“The Bank would like to clarify that the defendant, a 22-year-old Tope Olajide, IS NOT, and was at no point in time an employee of Stanbic IBTC Bank PLC.

“The alleged culprit was apprehended around 7:30 am, on Thursday, 27 August 2020, by security operatives after he was exposed by CCTV footage using ATM cards he had allegedly stolen and converted, to make withdrawals from the accounts tied to the stolen ATMs.

“The CCTV footage also showed the alleged culprit pretending to assist customers at ATMs whilst also attempting to fraudulently dispossess the customers of their ATMs.

“He was subsequently arraigned before an Ikeja Magistrate Court on Monday, 14 September, for stealing the debit cards of two customers and using them to unlawfully withdraw the sum of N427,000.

“The Bank would also like to implore members of the public to be security conscious when conducting transactions at ATMs. Customers are advised to report any suspicious actions around them to security operatives who are usually stationed around the Bank’s ATMs, when carrying out transactions at any of our ATM locations.

“As an organisation, we hold dear the values of integrity, and we will continue to prioritise the safety of our customers effectively.”


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Buhari Okays Establishment of CBN-Led Infraco

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President Muhammadu  Buhari has approved the establishment of an   Infrastructure Company (Infraco) to be driven by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in partnership with the African Finance Corporation (AFC) and the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA).

Buhari Okays Establishment of CBN-Led Infraco

Mr. Godwin Emefiele, CBN governor

This is coming  on the heels of the foreign reserves’ slump to $36 billion following a cocktail of monetary policy interventions by the apex bank to cushion the scathing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the economy.

Mr Godwin Emefiele, CBN governor, made these disclosures in Abuja at the annual conference of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN) with the theme: Facilitating a Sustainable Future: The role of Banking and Finance.

According to him, Infraco would enable the use of private and public capital to support infrastructure investment that will have a multiplier effect on growth across critical sectors.

“This entity would also be able to raise funds from the capital markets and mobilise long term finance to address some of our infrastructure needs, while providing reasonable returns to investors. “We believe this well-structured fund can act as a catalyst for growth in the medium and the long run. The support of the banking community will be important in achieving this objective.

“A well-built infrastructure system, comprising hard infrastructure such as roads and ports, and soft infrastructure such as broadband penetration, can have a multiplier effect on growth by enabling the expansion of business activities in the country”, he explained.

On foreign reserves, Emefiele attributed its crash to the decline in foreign exchange earnings and subsequent adjustments in the value of the naira to the dollar.


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Amana Bank signs Comprehensive Software Deal with Path Solutions

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Amana Bank, a leading Islamic bank in Somalia has announced that it has selected iMAL, the AAOIFI-certified core banking platform from Path Solutions to replace its legacy IT system and deploy a single, cloud-based digital banking platform to underpin its banking operations.

This is Path Solutions’ third win in Somalia after Premier Bank and MyBank Ltd. The company went through a lengthy competitive bidding to which all international suppliers were invited, before being selected as Amana Bank’s preferred technology partner.

According to a statement following the signing, Path Solutions will supply and install its flagship Islamic core banking platform iMAL in addition to its comprehensive digital suite at Amana Bank Somalia. The new digital software will provide instant 24/7 service availability with fast, inexpensive, easy and convenient online banking, frictionless payments and transfers, personalization, engagement and retention.

Abdirizak Hussein Malin, Chairman of Amana Bank Somalia commented, “As part of our strategy, Amana Bank has instituted a digital transformation plan that will help us meet the emerging needs of our customers and the increasing demands of innovation.

“Consequently, we required a partner with open and agile technology that will drive powerful change. We have chosen Path Solutions for its ability to deliver vital digital financial solutions at this critical time with its depth of experience supporting Islamic banks in Africa.

“The company has differentiated itself from other vendors in its unique ability to combine core Islamic values with modern digital banking solutions, and to fully comply with Sharia and banking regulations.

“We are confident that the new technology, proven to significantly improve levels of customer fulfilment, will transform our operations by driving incredible efficiency gains while also reducing risk, lowering overall IT costs via higher automation and lower maintenance spending”.

The new iMAL platform leverages artificial intelligence and machine learning to help financial institutions get predictive insights for better data-driven decision making. It will also help strengthen customer loyalty through enhanced security transactions.

“We are delighted to partner with a leading Islamic bank in Somalia on a project that will set a new standard in digital banking for the country. Today, every financial institution has an incredible opportunity to apply advances in cloud computing to redefine every aspect of its business”, said Mohammed Kateeb, Path Solutions’ Group Chairman & CEO.

“Somalia’s Amana Bank is a good example of this transformation to drive innovation forward and ensure much more secure banking experience, enabling customers to enjoy the nuances of non-stop banking with cloud-based services.

The bank will also benefit from the full Islamic coverage which bridges the gap between modern customer requirements and intrinsic Islamic values. Our multi-award winning Islamic core banking platform will support the delivery of innovative digital products that are both Sharia-compliant and specialized for Amana Bank’s retail and corporate customers”.

The new agreement was signed by Amana Bank’s Chairman Abdirizak Hussein Malin and Path Solutions’ Group Chairman & CEO Mohammed Kateeb on Sunday 6 September at Path Solutions’ Dubai office. The implementation will be delivered 100% in the cloud and 100% remotely amidst the COVID-19 lockdown.


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