How to tackle cybercriminals targeting financial mobile apps was the fulcrum of a one day forum hosted by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) in Abuja. The ‘Stakeholders Forum on Financial Fraud using Telecoms Platforms’ sought to galvanise stakeholders and concern experts on the increasing focus by hackers on telecom platforms on which several financial mobile apps ride and the dangers to online transactions if such criminals are not tamed.
With hackers on the prowl, mobile apps are increasingly becoming easy avenues to hijack or divert digital transactions, or steal credentials on mobile app users.
Government is worried that of these new challenges are not quickly and effectively addressed, they could compromise the entire process of mobile and other internet-based transactions, said Minister of Communications, Barrister Adebayo Shittu at the event.
“As mobile apps integration with online payment platforms and other financial resources have improved over the years, the proportion of legitimate trade conducted using mobile phones and other portable devices has also increased. Little wonder then that mobile channels have been seized by cyber-criminals as a new avenue for fraud. Mobile apps as a whole are now quite easy for hackers and cyber criminals to hijack, corrupt, making them tools for fraudsters to steal credentials, impersonate genuine account holders and gain illicit access to funds,” said Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Prof Umar Garba Danbatta, while delivering the welcome address.
He said the NCC remained committed to the provision of “a robust infrastructure to support innovative technologies and services that will enhance the pursuit of excellence and development in all sectors of the Nigerian economy. However, the malevolent use of this technology has become a growing concern in the industry, especially in the area of financial fraud”.
“Phishing tactics and social engineering ploys such as SIM Swap are part and parcel of the online fraud mechanism regardless of whether the transactions are conducted via mobile phone, desktop browser or point of presence. Fraudsters continuing to exploit these weaknesses, putting better authentication processes in place is vital,” added Danbatta to an audience that include members of regulatory institutions, government ministries, department and agencies (MDAs), telecom companies, financial institutions, security agencies and members, telecom and financial experts as well as other industry players.
The telecom regulator revealed that “the commission is collaborating with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), the Nigerian Police Force (NPF) and other relevant agencies in the fight against e-banking fraud. Effective collaboration and private organisation is a tool to tackling the scourge that has besieged financial and telecoms sectors”.
This event was organized as a response to the inundated public complaints on the unceasing cases of Financial Fraud via the use of Telecom Platforms and is poised at seeking initiatives aimed at creating greater awareness on the issue as well as creating ways of addressing these challenges.
The event offered a window for collaboration for telecom operators, financial institutions and regulators to tackle apps driven financial fraud.