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How Organisations Can Prevent Financial Losses via Innovative Email Protection




By peter oluka

Many business organisations and public institutions are faced one way or the other with challenges of their corporation email been compromised. This to a large extent has brought loss of businesses or embarrassment.

Those who have not been able to successfully manage it by being on top of the situation are those whose knowledge and technology partnership need to be upgraded.

In the technology parlance, the Business e-mail compromise (BEC) is when an attacker hacks into a corporate e-mail account and impersonates the real owner to defraud the company, its customers, partners, and/or employees into sending money or sensitive data to the attacker’s account.

BEC is also known as a “man-in-the-email” attack. This is derived from the “man-in-the-middle” attack where two parties think that they are talking to each other directly, but in reality, an attacker is listening in and possibly altering the communication.

This is how it works. A BEC scam starts with research. An attacker will sift through publicly available information about your company from your website, press releases, and even social media posts.

He/she might look for the names and official titles of company executives, your corporate hierarchy, and even travel plans from email auto-replies.

The attacker will then try to gain access to an executive’s e-mail account. To remain undetected, he/she might use inbox rules or change the reply-to address so that when the scam is executed, the executive will not be alerted.

Another trick is to create an e-mail with a spoofed domain. For example, the attacker might use mohammed.adeyemi@samp1e.cominstead of, or instead of If you do not pay close attention, it is easy to get fooled by these slight differences. One of the most famous spoofed domain tricks ever was the “” – a scam site imitating money transfer website

After scouting corporate communications for some time, the attacker will probably have a good idea of scam scenarios that might work. For instance, if the company has a lot of suppliers, he/she can send invoices to account for the rush payment of materials. The attacker would know who is responsible for wire transfers and be able to craft a convincing scenario that would require the immediate transfer of funds.

Some of the most prevalent examples of BEC scams are:

  • The fraudulent invoice scamis when a cybercriminal uses an employee’s e-mail to send notifications to customers and suppliers asking for payment to the cybercriminal’s account.
  • The fake boss scamis when a fraudulent email is sent from a business executive’s account to employees instructing them to urgently transfer money from the corporate account to the criminal’s account.
  • The fake attorney scamis when a lawyer’s e-mail address is used to contact clients, asking that they pay money immediately to keep things confidential.

However, business e-mail compromise attacks do not only involve money; sometimes, attackers seek PII or trade secrets.

One high-profile BEC case involved a Lithuanian cybercriminal that used the e-mail addresses of suppliers. Companies that were targeted include Apple and Facebook. By impersonating suppliers, the hacker was able to steal $100 million in two years. In another case, the FACC Ag CEO was fired after such an attack cost the company $54 million.

In 2016, there were at least 40,000 incidents of business e-mail compromise or other incidents that involve e-mails—an increase of around 2,370% since January 2015. In the second half of 2016 alone, the FBI reported more than 3,044 victims in the United States, with a combined loss of around $346 million. Where does most of the money go?

Most of the victims are told to send the money to an Asian bank, usually in Hong Kong or China, or a bank in the United Kingdom.

But you can protect your business or organisation from all these challenges!

Business e-mail compromise attacks are successful for three main reasons:

  1. Insufficient security protocols
  2. Social engineering
  3. Lack of employee awareness

Multi-factor authentication should be implemented as an IT security policy. This will help prevent unauthorized access to e-mails, especially if an attacker attempts to login from a new location. In addition to stronger security protocols, employee education is also important.

Employees should be trained on identifying fraudulent e-mails. Always be skeptical of urgent and rush money transfer requests, especially from C-level executives, and verify those requests, either by phone or in person.

According to Victor Ugwu, Signal Alliance, technical security consultant, the company offers a robust and adaptive email security solution on- premise and in the cloud. Beyond email security, they also provide a tested and trusted Cybersecurity solutions ranging from; Perimeter Security, Infrastructure Security, Cloud, Mobile Security and Managed Security Service.

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Nigerians Lose Faith in Banks as 2m Shun Services



Despite Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) effort to promote financial inclusion, the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS) banking industry statistics shows that the number of customers using financial services reduced in 2017.


The statistics obtained from the NIBSS website on Sunday, showed that the total number of bank customers dropped from 61 million in 2016 to 59 million in 2017.


Similarly, active bank accounts reduced from 65 million in 2016 to 63.5 million accounts in 2017.


According to NIBSS, the banking sector, however, made great strides in linking customers’ account using the Bank Verification Number (BVN).


The report showed that linked BVN accounts grew from 26 million in 2016, to 41.3 million in 2017.


According to a banking industry source, the reduction in banking customers is not unconnected to the Federal Government’s declaration to fight against corruption.


“When Buhari assumed office, many people abandoned their accounts, especially civil servants because of fear of investigation.


“While some out rightly closed down their accounts, others opted for gradual withdrawal so as not to raise alarm,’’ the source said.


The source, who works at one of the top five banks in the country, blamed the BVN for the low patronage of banking products, especially in the rural areas, where awareness was already very low.


A bank customer, Mr Olaitan Alagbe said that she closed some of her accounts due to unnecessary and illegal charges by banks.


“First of all, the interest rate is next to nothing, so there is little reason to keep your money at the bank when you can turn it over doing other businesses,” she said.


Another customer, who preferred to remain anonymous said he opened several accounts during the Ponzi scheme boom in the country, but was forced to abandon them after the schemes crashed in late 2016 and early 2017.


However, a source at the CBN said that the reduction in the number of banking customers was caused mainly by the introduction of BVN.


“The reduction may not necessarily be a bad thing. For example, many people opened accounts using different variations of their names.


“A person bearing Musa Salisu Mohammed, may have other accounts as Salisu Mohammed or Musa Salisu.


“So with the introduction of BVN, such customers were forced to regularise their names, however, some opted to close down their accounts, which resulted in the reduction of active bank accounts and customers,’’ the source said.


The CBN source was, however, optimistic that the financial inclusion strategy of the bank would succeed in bringing in more people into the formal banking system.


The Financial Inclusion strategy aims to ensure that major bulk of the money in the economy remains within the banking sector.


A major challenge in the financial inclusion process is how to ensure that the poor rural dwellers are carried along considering the lack of financial sophistication among this segment.


The CBN, Money Deposit Banks, Micro Finance Banks and other stakeholders are currently implementing different policies designed to enhance financial inclusion in the country.

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Benue Deploys Remita Software to Tame Payroll Fraud



Benue State Government has confirmed the deployment of a new payroll system into the state Civil service in the bid to check fraudulence practices on its payroll.


Mr David Olofu, State commissioner for Finance and Economic Planning, who confirmed this, revealed that the state has engage SystemSpecs’ Remita in managing the state’s salary payment and that this has really helped to get rid of fraud on the payroll.


It was gathered that the sum of N3.5billion salary fraud has recently been uncovered on the Benue State Civil Service payroll following a verification exercise to ascertain the over bloated wage of the state.


And since the deployment of the Remita software about 500 duplicate names and over 20 duplicate Bank Verification Numbers (BVN) were uncovered through Remita software.


Olofu said, “It is painful to me as commissioner for Finance to start something that I think will bring relief to us as a state.


“To me, it is important to look at what we have as against the solution we are presenting and to also look at the agreement and see if there is any shady deal. SystemSpecs did not come from heaven, they have been recommended,’’ he said.


He said that the Federal Government was presently using its platform, Remita for the payment of its workers’ salaries.


Olofu insisted that the payment of salaries needed a platform regardless of whether the payroll was prepared by civil servants or not.


“We must always use a platform for the payment of workers’ salaries, before this time, we were using the U-pay platform.


“When we came in, we discovered that salaries were paid through the platform but the system had many problems, which included duplication of names and we wanted to find out where the problems were coming from.


“We agreed in the ministry to do a trial with Zenith Bank to see if the challenges were as a result of normal banking problems or were caused by civil servants, that trial exposed a lot of issues including duplication of names on the payroll.’


The software has made enormous impact on the Nigerian economy in a relatively short time, and has attracted a global recognition for its role in engendering accountability and transparency in both private and public sectors.


A total of six states including Kano, Zamfara, and Benue have adopted Remita in their payroll management strategy. At the federal level, the smooth running of the Treasury Singly Account (TSA) is also facilitated by the Remita platform.


Remita is more than just a payment software, it also has HR and payroll functions which help businesses maintain a comprehensive, online employee personal and payroll data.


Licenced by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Remita is developed 100% in Nigeria to the highest international standards, and it has significantly assisted to revolutionise the e-payment industry in Nigeria.


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Keystone Bank, NIPOST Partner to Launch Agency Banking



Keystone Bank Limited has launched “KeyServ”(An Agency Banking proposition) to serve customers outside its conventional brick & mortar mode of banking.


The initiative, which is in partnership with Nigerian Postal Service (NIPOST) and i-OneC (A FinTech Firm), is in line with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Financial System Strategy (FSS2020) goals to increase financial inclusion uptake in Nigeria.


Mr. Obeahon Ohiwerei, group managing director/ chief executive officer, Keystone Bank Limited, said: “Enabling Financial Inclusion is our core area of focus and we have partnered with other industry players to deploy Digital Financial Solutions/ Platforms for improved access to finance; leveraging data to improve the product offerings, personalised & predictive customer service, and uncovering new customer segments”.


“The recent reports on adult Nigerians (according to EFInA) that are financially excluded is 40.1million (41.6% of 96.4million adults). To this end, we are partnering with NIPOST and i-OneC to offer financial inclusion services to un(der)banked Nigerians especially in the rural and less urban areas.

“Under this partnership, KeyServ (Keystone Agency Banking Services) offers services such as Account Opening, Bills Payment, Cash-In, Cash-Out, ATM Services, Fund Transfers, Balance Enquiries, ATM cash withdrawals, Mini Statements and a whole lot more.


“One landmark feature of KeyServ (Keystone Agency Banking Services) is that it offers affordable access to financial services than the traditional banking methods.”


Also, speaking at the launch, Yemi Odusanya, ED Corporate Banking & South, Keystone Bank, added : “With this scheme, customers, especially in the rural areas will enjoy unfettered access to banking services. As at today, we have about 106 approved agents across the country and already, the services are available at Sabongida-Ora (Evbiobe)-Edo State, Sabon Gari (Kano), Mirinjibi (Kaduna), Barnawa (Kaduna), Yaba (Lagos) and Ikoyi (Lagos)”

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