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How Organisations Can Prevent Financial Losses via Innovative Email Protection

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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 mohammed.adeyemi@sample.com, or emeka.damola@believeme.com instead of emeka.damola@beleiveme.com. 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 “PayPa1.com” – a scam site imitating money transfer website Paypal.com.

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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E-Financial

CBN Injects $210m Into Forex Market

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Fresh $210million has been injected by Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) into the inter-bank foreign exchange market, to meet customers’ requests in various segments of the market.

Figures obtained from the Bank on Monday indicated that CBN offered $100million to authorized dealers in the wholesale segment of the market, while the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) segment received the sum of $55 million.

Those requiring foreign exchange for invisibles such as tuition fees, medical payments and Basic Travel Allowance (BTA), among others, were also allocated the sum of $55 million.

The Bank’s Acting Director, Corporate Communications Department (CCD), Mr. Isaac Okorafor, confirmed the figures, adding that those who made bids in the wholesale window would receive value for the bids on Tuesday, January 16, 2018
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Okorafor reassured the public that the Bank would continue to intervene in the interbank foreign exchange market in line with its resolve to sustain liquidity in the market and maintain stability. According to him, the steps taken so far by the CBN in forex management had yielded many positives, particularly as it had to do with the reduction in the country’s import bills and accretion to its foreign reserves.


It would be recalled that the CBN last Friday, January 12, 2018, intervened in the Retail Secondary Market Intervention Sales (SMIS) to the tune of $262.5 million, to cater for requests in the agricultural, airlines, petroleum products and raw materials and machinery sectors.

 


Meanwhile, the naira continued its stability in the FOREX market, exchanging at an average of N360/$1 in the BDC segment of the market on Monday, January 15, 2018.

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E-Financial

ATM Deployers Report Double-digit Crime Surge in 2017

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The ATM Industry Association has published the results of its 2017 Global Fraud and Security Survey in which more than half of respondents (54 percent) reported an increase in ATM crime during the previous year. This represents a 12 percent change from the previous year’s survey, in which less than half (42 percent) of deployers said they had experienced a rise crime at their ATMs.

According to a press release, the survey looked at trends in ATM card skimming, PIN compromise, deposit and transaction reversal fraud, cash and card trapping schemes, eavesdropping, card data malware, chip card data shimming, network packet sniffing, and other network and remote network card data compromise methods.

“Since there are now such a variety of methods of attack, technologies and tools available, our industry needs to start 2018 with an attitude of vigilance,” ATMIA CEO Mike Lee said in the release. “We must unite like never before to tackle all these challenges.

“By reading this study early in the new year, industry practitioners will be well prepared for what lies ahead and can plan their defenses accordingly. I’d like to thank international ATM security expert Douglas Russell for giving us the true crime big picture in such a professional way.”

The new report is available online to ATMIA members. In the press release, the association also encouraged members to consult its online library of international ATM security best practices to reduce their risk of attack.

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E-Financial

UBA Introduces Leo, Chat Banking Personality on Social Media Platforms

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l-r: Executive Director, Lagos and West, United Bank for Africa(UBA) Plc, Mr. Ayoku Liadi; CEO, UBA Francophone Africa, UBA Plc, Mr. Emeke Iweriebor; Group Head, Online Banking, Austin Abolusoro; GMD/CEO, UBA Plc, Mr. Kennedy Uzoka; Executive Director/Group Chief Operations Officer, UBA Plc, Mr. Chukwuma Nweke; and Executive Director, Risk Management, UBA Plc, Mr Ike Uche, during the launch and introduction of Leo, a Chat Banking Personality on Social Media Platforms by UBA in Lagos on Thursday

United Bank for Africa (UBA), Pan-African financial institution, has changed the face of e-banking with the introduction of Leo, the UBA Chat Banker who enables customers make use of their social media accounts to carry out key banking transactions.

 

At the official launch of Leo, UBA’s Chat Banker, which took place in Lagos on Thursday, customers of the bank were given a step by step demonstration on the novel way of delivering lifestyle and quality  banking through the Facebook Messenger chat platform.

 

This is the first time that a financial institution in Africa has come up with this manner of solution to simplify the way customers transact. Something that has become necessary in today’s fast-paced world with demands for  quick-time transactions and response.

 

With the launch of the Chat Banking, customers will be able to open new accounts, receive instant transaction notifications, check their balances on the go, transfer funds and airtime top up. They will also be able to confirm cheques, pay bills apply for loans, freeze accounts, request for mini statements, amongst other things.

 

At the occasion, Mr. Kennedy Uzoka, group managing director, UBA, said that the launch of Leo is part of initiatives aimed at putting the bank’s customers first with UBA continuously developing strategies aimed at easing transactions for the bank’s numerous users, while ensuring utmost safety of their transactions.

 

Mr. Uzoka said, “The formulation of this product, is consistent with the bank’s customer 1st philosophy, where we are doing things not the way we like, but focusing on what the customers want, where they want it, and in the exact platform they want it.’

 

“At UBA, we have been working with technology giants that have the global capacity to ensure not only seamless but also effortless banking for millions of our customers across Africa. We at UBA, have collaborated with Facebook to come up with this innovation that is capable of revolutionising the way banking is done in Africa,” he said. Uzoka noted that Leo will  in the nearest future, show up on other social platforms and added that all it takes to enjoy the services is simply to have a Facebook account.

 

As he unveiled the character of Leo, Uzoka stated:  “Leo being an intelligent personality will give you feedback instantaneously as you transact your business on the platform. A solution that is from the customer’s standpoint and is easy to use by anyone’

 

Also speaking at the launch of Leo, Mr. Austine Abolusoro, group head of Online Banking at UBA, who conducted a step by step demonstration on the working of  Leo, reitirated that Leo  is  not just a chat machine, but an artificial intelligence personality meant to address any type of banking concerns raised by customers.

 

“Leo is ready and waiting to help with most transactions and to deliver any form of banking services. Leo is operating a lifestyle banking platform on facebook messenger to assist with your transactions while chatting with your friends and business partners. The security with this platform is that for every transaction, an OTP (One Time Password) is generated to the phone number that is registered on your account.”

 

He explained that with Leo your banking needs become easy and simple.  As simple as chatting.

 

UBA was incorporated in Nigeria as a limited liability company after taking over the assets of the British and French Bank Limited who had been operating in Nigeria since 1949.

 

The United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc merged with Standard Trust Bank in 2005 and from a single country operation founded in 1949 in Nigeria – Africa’s largest economy – UBA has become one of the leading providers of banking and other financial services on the African continent.

 

The Bank provides services to over 14 million customers globally, through one of the most diverse service channels in sub-Saharan Africa, with over 1,000 branches and customer touch points and robust online and mobile banking platforms.

 

UBA was the first Nigerian bank to make an Initial Public Offering, following its listing on the NSE in1970.

 

It was also the first Nigerian bank to issue Global Depository Receipts. The shares of UBA are publicly traded on the Nigerian Stock Exchange and the Bank has a well-diversified shareholder base, which includes foreign and local institutional investors, as well as individual shareholders.

 

 

 

 

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